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What I did this summer

Where exactly did summer go?  I know there’s there are still 10 days left, but we all know the state of mind known as summer comes to a halt after Labor Day weekend has passed us by.  I haven’t done much blogging beyond the occasional posting of a photo from my iPhone (yup, got a iPhone 3GS this summer – my first iPhone!), so here’s a recap.

First day of summer

The first day of summer was actually Father’s day and I wanted to spend a family day down in Santa Cruz on the beach and the boardwalk.  It was a blast.  Mason went on his first amusement park ride.  And with that came a look of extreme intenisty on his face.  I guess Keturah and I drilling “just hold on tight” to him over and over had an impact.  See for your yourself.


I really wasn’t sure Mason was enjoying this.  But when I got off he not only said he did, but also couldn’t wait to go on the next ride.



Summer concerts

Summer always means concerts for me.  And the big deal about this summer was that Phish was back.  I managed to make my way to Boston for Phish at Fenway and a great show close to home in Mountain View.  I’m happy the boys are back.  And even more happy that they’re playing great shows again.

But even more memorable was Wilco’s show at The Greek Theatre.  It was a PERFECT summer night and a fantastic performance.


Our New Yard

So we gutted our yard.  That’s story best told in pictures.

Right before things started getting totally ripped up



There used to be a lot of brush and a tall tree there…



It took some heavy machinery to get the job done right…



But here’s what we’ve got now…



Mason likes it…



More milestones for Mason and Jude

If you haven’t put two and two together yet, the trigger for that new yard is that the boys are growing up and spending more time outdoors.  Mason is now three (and is now onto a bigger bike as seen above).  And Jude turned one year old on August 4.  In addition, Jude can now walk and Mason is out of diapers.  There was a crazy few weeks this summer when Mason was getting potty trained while at the same time, Jude was learning to walk.  If you have kids, I’m sure you know how nuts that was.  If you don’t have kids, I’m sure you can just imagine.


Just for good measure, here’s a two final mega cute pics of the boys



Lastly… more career changes for Keturah and I

We’re both working at startups in San Francisco right now.  I’m at Ticketfly and it pretty took over my life during the last half of August.  But among other things, I helped roll out a brand spanking new web site for them.  Keturah started working with a new advertising agency in August. 

Mason and Jude are blogging

Sort of…

Mason is at http://masont.posterous.com

Jude is at http://judet.posterous.com

Wishing your continued peace, love, and happiness thru the holidays and beyond

This holiday season will be remembered by my family as the year that two things happened for the first time.

  1. We had two little boys to enjoy the holidays with and stack a pile of presents for under the tree
  2. We wrote a holiday family newsletter for the first time and have included it in with the card we sent out.

But we still haven’t solved the problem of actually collecting all the mailing addresses of the new friends we’ve made over the past year.  Next year, that will be worked seamlessly into the holiday production workflow.

So for those not getting an envelope in your mailbox, here is our holiday newsletter in its entirety.  Along with the photos that were included with it.


Hello from Half Moon Bay, California

Here we are, writing a holiday newsletter to insert with our 2008 holiday card.  Certainly, this is one of those things we never expected to actually do.  OK – in fairness, Keturah has been willing to do one of these for years.  J.J., on the other hand, has been trying to avoid this in the same manner that he’s been (successfully, so far) avoiding acquiring a mini-van.

But there is a simple reason we’ve made the leap and have dived into composing this masterpiece.  And the reason is this: we haven’t gotten around to letting some of you know that we had another wonderful about addition to our family this past year.  Jude – our second son, born on August 4, 2008.

So let’s get right to it. First off, with today’s modern medicine you can make appointments to give birth.  If you look in J.J.’s calendar, his summer months are filled with appointments such as “weekly status meeting” (these exist on his calendar every Monday at 1pm), “review design specifications for web project”, and “haircut”.  In the midst of all these, exists the appointment for August 4 at 6 AM.  That one says “Take Keturah to the hospital so she can have our baby.”  It also happens to be marked with an URGENT indicator so that he understands that it’s pretty important he not be late.

If that doesn’t seem like  we are thumbing our nose at mother nature and the reproductive process, how about this: we stopped to get a bite to eat and a cup of coffee on the way to the hospital.

But the truly important thing is that Jude Stafford Toothman was born as a beautiful baby boy at 8:03 AM on August 4.  The first “Hey Jude” came about 15 seconds later.    Mason and Jude differ in age by exactly two years and two days.  At birth, Jude weighed 8 pounds, 4 ounces.  Jude was born with brown hair and blue eyes.  There is much debate over whether his eyes will stay blue and as of mid-December, they are still blue.  For the record, Keturah believes those eyes will turn brown eventually.  J.J. believes they are blue to stay.

Mason adores Jude.  He loves to make silly faces to try to get Jude to laugh, is eager to hold him, and likes to show him how to play with toys.  He also loves climbing in Jude’s crib, stealing his stuffed animals, and using Jude’s socks as gloves for his own hands, but I guess perfect behavior can’t be expected from a two year old.  Speaking of gloves, Mason got his first baseball glove this past fall and it was a big moment.  He is eager to play catch.  Currently, he’s much better at throwing.  To really appreciate how well he can throw, you should see him grab the TV remote and throw it across the living room.  Yeah, we love that.

What we’re hoping for Mason right now is that if he happens to read this letter one day, notice that there are approximately 234 words written about Jude and only  125 words about him – that he won’t  be too upset about that.

With the pregnancy, there wasn’t a lot of traveling this year.  Though a trip to Costa Rica in January is fast approaching.  As for our careers, Keturah left her previous employer after Jude was born and is now freelancing for another ad agency in downtown San Francisco.  J.J. has now been working at Stanford University for a year.

And when we’re not doing that, we’re folding laundry.

Here’s wishing you a wonderful holiday season as well as continued peace and happiness in 2009.


Keturah, J.J., Mason, and Jude

Mason at the Beach

Mason playing at the beach – Half Moon Bay – Summer 2008

Mason staring at sharks and fishes – Aquarium of the Bay – July 2008

Mason staring at sharks and fishes – Aquarium of the Bay – July 2008


Jude about 30 minutes after being born – August 4, 2008

Mason holding Jude on the day Jude came home from the hospital

Mason holding Jude on the day Jude came home from the hospital – August 2008


Jude and Mason hanging out – Fall 2008

Keturah and J.J. – New York City – December 2008

Keturah and J.J. – New York City – December 2008

Hey Jude

Note: this is a letter that I wrote to my unborn son (due early August) last week.  It’s my sole contribution to Keturah’s baby shower.

Hey Jude,

You’re going to hear those two words A LOT.  I’m not kidding, either.  So many people are going to say lines to you such as “Hey Jude, don’t make it bad” or “Hey Jude, take a sad song and make it better.”  They’ll do so thinking that they are being witty and original.  In fact, as this letter is read to you for the first time, some of those people may be in the room right now.

But rest assured, there are couple good things about this future trend in your life. As your father, I am confident that there are two positive outcomes from your Mom and I deciding to name you Jude, thus sticking you with an eternity of “Hey Jude” references. 

First, there’s a very good chance it will spare you from a lifetime of people finding out what your last name is and asking “are you a dentist?”  From personal experience, I can tell you that I am simply stunned beyond belief when people say that to me and think that they are the first person to ever come up with that.  To be succinctly blunt…those people are dumb-asses.  There, I said it.

Second – and perhaps most importantly – “Hey Jude” by The Beatles is a really, really, REALLY good song.  It’s spectacular and that is not an exaggeration. When people hear that song on the radio, they turn it up so they can sing along.  They smile.  They laugh.  “Hey Jude” makes people feel wonderful.  There is no way you can listen to the song “Hey Jude” and not be filled with feelings of extreme joy and happiness.  Similarly, those same feelings of joy and happiness are what your mother, I, and countless others will feel when you are born and every time we think of you.  A simple song by The Beatles has brought so much joy to so many lives and your life will do the same thing.  

It is very important for you to know that you aren’t being named after a Beatles song.  I can’t stress that enough.  I only bring it up to prepare you for what’s ahead.  Don’t worry they’ll be plenty of other Beatles songs in your life, too.  I’ll make sure of that.  And they’ll be plenty of music beyond the Beatles.  Like I did with your older brother Mason, I’ll fill your early years with Bob Marley, Johnny Cash, Miles Davis, and Beethoven.  By the time you’re walking, we’ll add in Dylan, Wilco, The Grateful Dead, and Motown soul. 

Your life will also be filled with is sports.  There is a lot of sports watching in our household.  In the winter, we’ll huddle inside watching college basketball.  March is especially a fun time for that.  When that season ends, we’ll fill the spring and summer with Red Sox baseball.  In the fall, you and your Mom can enjoy college football Saturdays. 

We’re a family that likes to get outdoors so they’ll be time play plenty of sports, too.  Building sandcastles on the beach, playing catch in the yard, and hiking up a mountain are all activities we look forward to sharing with you. 

There’s so many good times ahead.  I can’t wait to get started.  Neither can your mother.  And neither can your older brother Mason – whether he knows it or not. 

So let it out and let it in.  Hey Jude, begin.

Love Always,

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