Introducing Archer Sophia Vota

Hanalei’s little sister has arrived!

Please welcome Archer Sophia Vota, the newest edition to the Vota family. She came into this world this evening as her mom was laughing, and now she can’t stop crying. Yet her parents and her family are overjoyed by this new bundle of love.

Archer joins her sister Hanalei Stockard Vota, as the pride of the Vota family and they can both be found on Facebook (of course):

Driving 35 Hours with 1 Year Old Hanalei

Let’s go that way!
Just think about this for a minute – driving 35 hours with a 1 year old daughter. Any parent starts to cringe, preparing for a tale of crying, seat-kicking, marriage-ending woe. You’ll read about that in some other place, for here, I have only happiness to report.

Amy, Hanalei, Dog Taxi and I – that’s 2 parents, 1 child and 1 dog, drove from Washington DC to Atlanta, to Vero Beach and back to Washington DC over Christmas without a single scream, tantrum, or pork rind. Yeah, I’m in shock too.

I don’t know why we were so blessed – maybe to convince us to have another child? – but I’ll take the peaceful memory regardless. That’s not to say it was an accident. There was much preparation for this adventure in serenity.

First, we rented a minivan to give us enough space for everyone and their stuff. Then, the dog got drugged – a requirement for hyper-active Taxi Dog. Next we always left early in the morning – 7am on the dot. Last, but not least, Hanalei was just an angel – and we’re not asking why.

But I have my suspicions. For the whole drive either Amy or I sat in the back seat next to her, so she’d not be alone. We also let her run wild at lunchtime, thanks to the patience of Wendy’s staff and customers. And she had plenty of toys and treats to keep her occupied.

Still, she was a real trooper – we all were, in what was 10 hours from DC to Atlanta, 10 hours from Atlanta to Vero, and 15 hours from Vero to DC. But it was worth it for a Christmas of love and Grammy beach time.

Running Past My First Father’s Day

Best Use of A Bike Lane
Today is the first of what I hope to be many happy Father’s Days. And even though she is too young to tell me what she’d do for this special day, I knew what would make both of us happy: a long run through Petworth.

No, Hanalei isn’t running yet – she gets the easy ride in a baby jogger. Better yet, in the car seat, in the baby jogger, protected and after the first few blocks, asleep. Then its up to daddy to keep the speed, so she can have a cool breeze while she sleeps.

Daddy got his own reward, for as he ran around the neighbourhood, everyone called out “Happy Father’s Day” for which he responded “Thanks, its my first!” to hearty congratulations. I so love that my neighbourhood is so friendly.

It also has long straight roads with little traffic, allowing me to run my 7 miles without turning the stroller too often, or worrying about cars. Best of all, a few streets even have bike lanes, for which I usurp for Hanalei and I.

Soon, I hope she’ll be big enough to face forward in the jogger as I run, enjoying the view and talking with daddy.

New Yorkers Love Hanalei Stockard Vota

Getting an NYC thumbs-up
I’m not sure when I realized that New Yorkers love my daughter, Hanalei.

Maybe it was the cab drivers, always willing to wait while I buckled in her car seat. Maybe it was the waitress who made space for her stroller at the table. Or maybe it was when the cute college girls stopped everything and played with Hanalei at Starbucks.

Yeah, that was it. When I could get random women to put away their iPhones and boyfriends to babysit my daughter in a busy Starbucks, I knew she’d won the hearts and minds of the Big Apple.

Amy and I took Hanalei on her first NYC visit to get her acclimated to overstimulation, and she fit right in. Asleep on Amtrak, calm on the subway, and styling in restaurants, she was the perfect 6 month old. She even went to meetings with Daddy, wooing a crowd of focused computer coders with her charm.

May she always be and have this much travel fun.

Hanalei Speaks Her First Words!

Listen closely to her speaking at 3 months

hanalei not happy with photos
Another video of me dad?!
Its with great joy and surprise that I’m proud to announce that Hanalei Stockard Vota is now talking. Yes, she is speaking at 3 months old – a record for any of our families. While she’s not quite saying whole sentences, if you listen to her on this video, you can tell she’s making sense.

As her father, I’m so proud that she’s talking, its kinda hard for me to admit that I don’t always agree with what she says. Her stance on the impact of Obama’s stimulus package on domestic consumption, or North Korea’s missile program on six-nation talks are controversial to say the least, but at least we do agree on milky-milk preference: boob beats bottle every time.

So on this first day of April, join me in a good laugh to all those that Hanalei fooled.