Posts Tagged ‘Domingo’

March 27, 2016

Sixth Anniversary

My happy, crazy, amazing family

It’s hard to believe it’s been six years since the anniversary of our wedding vows. In those six years we’ve had three homes (three cities and three different daycares), two amazing girls, and one incredible do-it-yourself career adventure.

I am constantly amazed at the compassion and considerate my not-yet-four-year-old shows. She is so loving with her little sister, offering her hugs and toys when she cries. Her teachers tell me she is the first to start cleaning up, and the first to the table at activity time. A few months ago Ms. T, her favorite teacher, was cutting with scissors and somehow managed to cut herself. Concerned, Nicole fetched her a wet paper towel, all on her on.

Alexis is our vampire kisses and tackle hug champion. She is incredibly clever, just like big sister. Before she found words she was amazingly good at inventing gestures to indicate what she wanted, whether it be the way she tapped on the trey to indicate the type of food she wanted, or the way she’d throw her head down to indicate she wanted to be picked up upside down. She’s our happy little ball of energy

And Domingo. Boy, did I hit the jackpot with him. He’s amazingly supportive of my desire to start my own company, even though it’s taking longer to get it off the ground than I would like.

We’re loving our new home, and our new community. The change of pace from silicon valley (and the reduction in commute time) has done us a world of good.

February 14, 2015

My All


I have a lot to be thankful for in my life, and having a wonderful spouse would be one of the top ones. We’re approaching our five year anniversary, and as cheesy as it sounds, every day I love him more and more.

He loves me for me, even my idiosyncrasies and internal inconsistencies. He cherishes my weird personality quarks. Every year on valentines day he buys me a small arrangement of flowers because he knows that even though I say I don’t like flower arrangements, I only mean it most of the time. He managed to make me laugh as the anesthesiologist was placing the epidural. He stayed up all night just to sit by my side and offer moral support when an unrealistic deadline set by my supervisor meant I wouldn’t be going to bed any time soon.

A while back, I read an article on love languages. I feel the most loved through actions (acts of service), especially when someone does something counter to their normal behavior. Quality time and words of affirmation are tied for second. Gifts are dead last. A token jester is nice, and extravagant gift is actually annoying. The year we got engaged, I told Domingo I didn’t want much for valentines day, and gave him a strict spending cap of $10. Later he told me how awkward he felt standing in line with the single flower and Hershey’s bar, compared to the other guys with giant bouquets and fancy chocolates I don’t like. Every other time he’s stood in that line he’s been one of those other guys. He listened to me, what I wanted, and didn’t let any feelings of awkwardness influence him otherwise.

He cooks, he cleans, he helps out with the kids, and he occasionally brings home a Hershey’s chocolate bar, just because. I’m so grateful that someone so wonderful fell in love with me. I cannot imagine spending my life with anyone else.


Being a Graduand

I have met the requirements for my degree. My cover sheet has been signed (the last signature was acquired Friday and, according to the shipping tracking information, arrived on campus Monday morning), my dissertation has been submitted online. I am a Graduand. There is nothing left for me to do but wait for my paperwork to be processed and the degree to be officially conferred.

That still feels so surreal to think about. It wasn’t that long ago that I wasn’t sure if I would graduate. I did order a copy of my thesis in book form. Maybe it will feel more real seeing my name ‘in print’.

Our Amazing Daughter

Nicki has been such a joy, I don’t even know where to begin. She’s adapted amazing well, (and quickly!) to her new life – the new home, the new daycare, the new schedule. She’s an incredibly happy little girl and tolerates most anything life throws at her, which in the past month has included six new teeth (4 molars!) a stomach bug which she handled better than Mommy & Daddy, and a cold. Her sunny personality has made this whole transition so much smoother.

I’m also thankful that she appears to really enjoy having her photo taken which lines up nicely to my hobby of taking her photo! Sometimes I think she even understands what the camera is for. Lately she’s smiling for the camera and not just at me behind it. She can even be quite the little ham at times, and loves seeing the photos afterwards. This afternoon she kept asking to see the view screen when I was flipping through the photos. She recognizes herself.

The Best Partner Anyone Could Ask For

Domingo has so many praises to be sung: awesome father, amazing husband. He was willing to move here to be closer to my work, never complains about the late shift with Nicki, and can operate under less sleep than I thought humanly possible. I know it’s trite and cliche to say, but I love him more and more each and every day.

In keeping with the photography theme, I will add how thankful I am that he puts up with my obsessive momtographer tendencies. The above photo was taken at the park Thanksgiving morning. A few weeks back I was perusing facebook and envious of all my friend’s fall photos. Here in California highs were still in the near 70s. We have two seasons: summer (hot and sunny), and winter (rainy and cool). We were still in ‘summer’. Since we don’t really have fall here the way the rest of the country does, it doesn’t really make sense for me to lament not having an opportunity for fall themed photos. After all, those aren’t our memories. Still, they reminded me of growing up back East and I wanted some!

I found a park with some leaves on the ground (a thin layer atop mostly wood chips). The park was fairly busy on the weekends with little league, but we figured it would be fairly empty Thanksgiving morning. We dressed Nicki in her light sweatshirt so the photos would feel more fallish, went early in the morning before it warmed up too much for her to wear it. While every sane person was getting their turkey prepped, we were snapping our ‘faux fall’ photos. Our little ham loved it.

The Starting of New Traditions

We started a new tradition this year. After Nicki went to bed Thanksgiving night, and with family still visiting, we decided to put the Christmas tree up. I think it ads a little bit of extra holiday magic to have the tree appear overnight – kind of like the tradition of Santa bringing the tree, but much earlier in the season.

Nicki woke up first in the morning, per usual, and was completely mesmerized by the tree. When Grandma woke up an hour later, Nicki ran to her, exclaimed ‘Tree!’ and lead Grandma back to it. It was adorable.

I can’t wait for her to experience the magic of Christmas, and to make that happen for her. I loved the holidays growing up (what kid doesn’t?) and I’m so excited to be creating these new traditions with my family.

October 23, 2013


Exhausted, Relieved, Elated, Happy, Drained, Ecstatic. Defended. De-Fend-Ed.

At 4:11 PM my dissertation committee wrapped up their discussion. I had passed with “flying colors”. It was surreal hearing those words. I expected to pass as all grad students who finish their theses are conditioned to expect. What I wasn’t sure on was how my thesis stacked up against the expectation, or how much work my committee would request I do before signing off on it. I was not expecting to walk out, title page in hand, with two signatures already and a third (remote) member ready to sign once it arrived to him. I was hoping, but not daring to expect.

My plan for the day was to go to bed early – no later than 11 pm. I’d drop off Nicki at daycare, then Domingo and I would drive down to Santa Cruz two to three hours before my actual defense at 2 pm. I’d have time to pay the filing fee when I arrived, do a full run through of my presentation before my defense.

The actual day turned out very different.

I’m a believer that impressions matter, and wanted to wanted to project a professional image so I decided to dress “business casual.” I had read everything from full suits required, to not to worry about appearances. Computer science tends to be a very causal field as far as attire goes, so I opted for the “dress one step above your interviewers” (or in this case committee members) rule. When we were packing last week for our move, I made sure I had an outfit I liked, that I could feel confident in. The trouble is, I didn’t set it aside. I expected to be unpacked by now (ha!). That outfit? Buried in one of my suitcases. So at around 11:30 I was madly searching for anything that fit the bill and wasn’t too wrinkled. Luckily I found a pale pink shirt and dark gray sweater that were relatively wrinkle free.

The last step before bed was to print my thesis. I had read that the committee may have specific questions about specific figures, and having a hard copy makes things easier. (My committee did have such questions.)

Last time I tried to print my dissertation it took 54 minutes, 25.9 seconds. Yes, I timed it. I’m a PhD, we do weird things like that. That was back when it was 172 pages, these days it’s 200 pages. That’s a rate of about one page per 18 seconds. At the time I thought the problem was my cheapie printer running out of buffering space. It turns out it’s my laptop and my laptop is dying. It’s having memory corruption errors. I know this because it blue screened of death on me TWICE while trying to print, and hung once and required a full disk check on boot up. After trying for over an hour I abandoned the idea of having a printed copy. But I couldn’t just go to bed at that point. I had no other presentation device. I needed to know whether my laptop would boot or I would be making an emergency run to BestBuy in the morning. That meant I had to wait through the full check disc process. It turned out that as long as I didn’t attempt to print, or open up a web browser, my computer had enough memory to give my presentation. I went to bed a little after 1.

Then Nick decided it was time to get up at 4. And again at 5:30. And finally at 6:30.

Daycare drop off went a little longer than expected. Nicki is handling the switch like a boss. The recommendation was four visit days. The second day she was content to play by herself away from me for twenty minute intervals. The third day she was good for a few hours. Her teachers have been so impressed by how quickly she’s been adapting. No Tears! Still I wanted to wait until snack time to leave, since she’s usually sufficiently distracted by tasty goodness that she doesn’t notice my exit. Snack time was a little delayed, and apparently I have been a little too consistent in my exit. Nicki noticed the pattern. She started to walk off in the direction of snack, but then changed her mind and came flying back into my arms. Little kids are excellent at deducing patterns when they want to be!

Back at home Domingo had not only managed to print my thesis in under five minutes, but had swung by target and picked up brownies and cookies for my committee. Have I mentioned before how absolutely amazing and what a life saver he is?

I finally found the phone number to order coffee for my committee members, a quick shower, and it was time to leave. Despite everything we were still making good time and would be on campus two hours early.

About 15 minutes into the journey to campus traffic stopped. There is exactly one route through the mountains to UC Santa Cruz – highway 17. There was a brush fire and the right lane was closed. Traffic was backed up for miles. We arrived at campus with less than an hour to go. A quick bite of lunch, a few minutes to set-up and it was go time.

Before Nicki was born I have been the sole photographer in the family. Domingo didn’t even know how to take off the lens cap (or, as he claimed, he knew how but didn’t want to for fear of accidentally damaging my camera.) Now we trade off, so we can have some mommy/daughter photos. Last night I handed Domingo my camera to take some photos of bath time in my never ending quest to have more photos of Nicki.

This was the fifth image on my camera.

Simply amazing. Is that not the best photo of Nicki?

Those eyes are stunning, and just draw your attention into them. The way the baby’s face is perfectly in focus while everything else is slightly out of focus. The lighting, the composition, every aspect of the photo work so well together. The tender way her hand is reaching back to my arm… I mean WOW. It is just perfect.

A close up of her face. I melt.

So how did he do it? How did he go from ‘where’s the shutter button?’ to taking breathtaking photo of Nicki in six months? Here are some tips if you, like us, have one photographer and one non photographer in the house.

Adjust The Camera Settings Yourself – This tip comes from a travel advice forum: If you want someone to take a photo with your camera, configure all the settings in advance. That way the good samaritan taking your photo only needs to push the shutter button and you get the photo you want. When I was drawing the bath I set f-stop, ISO, and shutter speed. That way, all Domingo had to worry about was point and click.

Show The Other Person What You Want – Take a couple similar photos and show the other person what it is you’re looking for. Sometimes it’s easier to understand what someone is asking for when you can see an example. Over the past few months I would take a photo with Domingo and the baby, then ask him to take a similar one with me and the baby. They photos would differ, of course. Maybe mine would have a tighter crop, or be angled differently. Gradually over time Domingo’s composition began to match mine.

Encourage The Other Person to be Trigger Happy – The key is lots of photos, lots of angles. One difference between a beginner photographer and an expert is the number of photos you take. Encourage the other person to experiment: take a few photos standing, try kneeling, maybe head on, next from the side. Digital memory is cheap and the best way to learn is with practice. There are no bad photos, but maybe lots of ‘practice’ ones!

Of course, when there’s a baby, there’s always an element of luck. Relax, there’s always another day.

I have to up my game or I might lose the job of family photographer!

Daddy Daughter Bonding – 1 Month Old

“What are your expectations when it comes to who will be responsible for what chores after baby arrives?” It was a question posed in the mid-pregnancy educational class we attended last February. Whose job would it be to make sure the diapers and wipes were well stocked? To take out the dirty diapers each night? The class instructor had everyone fill out a ‘mine’ and ‘theirs’ responsibilities work sheet as we waited for everyone attending the class to arrive. No peeking!

Up until that point Domingo and I hadn’t really discussed diving up the baby chores. We had discussed our general parenting philosophies such as how we felt about sleep training and discipline. We made sure we were on the same page when it came to what kind of parents we envisioned being, what we wanted most for our daughter and our expectations as parents. But the day to day chores didn’t come up.

I gave myself 100% of the responsibility of feeding baby (kind of hard to share that one when you plan on breastfeeding) and night time baby care. I figured there was no sense in us both being up if I had to be awake to feed the baby anyway. (I referred to it as our zone defense strategy.) For everything else I split responsibilities 50/50. I thought Domingo’s sheet would look the same. Wrong! Domingo gave himself 70% of the responsibility of diapering and 100% of household cleaning. As he saw it – if my job was to feed the baby, his job was everything else. Cooking, cleaning, he expected to take on a lion’s share of the chores. But he didn’t expect to stop there. He expected to be awake at each and every feeding.

And he meant it.

After a long day at work, he comes home and is ready to take a shift with the baby to give me a break. Always. On days that Nicki is home from day care, he comes home from lunch to make sure I have something nutritious to eat. Always. Without fail or complaint.

My idea of a zone defense was a bit naïve. Most days it can work, but some days I just need a little extra sleep or a second pair of hands. This morning was one of them. Even though Domingo went to bed after me, he got up to feed the baby. After she eat, she fell asleep immediately in his arms. Rather than risk waking her, he stayed with her in the rocking chair. I woke up to find them there an hour later.

I have the Best Daddy Ever! – Three Months Old

I knew I hit the jackpot with Domingo. I knew he was the kind of guy I wanted to spend the rest of my life with the first time I met him. I knew he was the kind of guy I wanted to be the father of my children before we even started dating. It was the first time I was in a relationship and could see myself in the roll of wife and mother, not just girlfriend. Still, he blew away my expectations. He is all I could ever have wanted and more. How did I get to be so lucky? Amazing husbands make for the best dads.