The Stoffer name lives on

Ezra James Stoffer was born on on Saturday night at around 7:30pm.  He weighed 9lbs 5oz.  Mom and baby are doing fine but the birth was a kind of a traumatic experience for me.

This was our third time around so we pretty much knew what to expect.  We got to the hospital early because both Stella and Violet came very quick and we ended up having them both about an hour after getting there.  This time we wanted to experience childbirth at a slower, relaxed pace.  Marci went into labor with Ezra around 10am and we got to the hospital around 2pm.  After 2 hours, the contractions hadn’t gotten more intense and she wasn’t progressing towards delivery.  We tried walking around the hospital to jumpstart the process.  Nothing happened.  Marci knew that if she took a bath the baby would come, but the hospital only had showers.  After four hours at the hospital we finally faced the fact that this baby is not going to come unless it is a rush job.  So we decided to go home. We left the hospital at 6:00pm and Marci took a bath while I picked up the kids and put them to bed.  Less than an hour after we got home I heard Marci yell from the living room that her water had broken.  All over the couch.  So at around 6:50 we were back in the minivan, darting around traffic at 85 miles an hour while Marci screamed in the passenger seat.  We got to the the Hospital a little after 7:00 and Marci gave birth at 7:28.

Now, I have seen two other births in my life.  Stella came out kicking and screaming.  Violet came out inside her fully-intact fluid sack and once they ripped her out of there she was kicking and screaming.  So I thought I had seen it all.  When Ezra’s head popped out I could tell something was wrong. The chord was wrapped around his neck and the doctor quickly reached for the scissors to cut the chord before Ezra was even out.  I could sense tension enter the room. When Ezra came out he was not kicking and screaming.  He was silent.  His whole body was as limp as a wet rag and he was a deep shade of purple from head to toe.  I didn’t know what was going on, but I knew what I was seeing was not good.  Instead of handing the baby to Marci like they usually do, they rushed Ezra to a table at my left where they put some sort of respirator on him.

Now, I am not a super emotional person and I don’t get worked up by things. I think I maybe shed a tear or two at my girls’ births.  But seeing my son’s limp body placed there with two nurses working on him was really upsetting.  I looked back at my wife who was still recovering and oblivious to what was going on in the room.  I didn’t know what to say to her.  And so I cried.  I tried to keep it together but my legs went weak and just cried for what felt like a long time.  This whole ordeal probably took less than two minutes but it felt like forever.  Ezra did start breathing.  He started crying and they handed him to Marci.  Apparently this kind of thing happens all the time and the nurses reassured me that they were not worried at all.  But for me I really had a moment there where I though that my son had died in childbirth.

I don’t remember the last time I felt an emotion that deeply.  I may never have.  So in a way I am actually grateful for that terrible experience.

Anyway.  The baby is perfectly happy now and is nursing well.  Here are some pictures.

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Another great Stoffer family email

Jon just sent out another gem of a response to one of my dad’s emails.  Here is a summary of the email chain followed by his exact response.

Dad: We want to redo the signs for the the Wholly Cow.  Here is the new design.  What do you think?

dad cow

Julie: That’s stupid.  This looks exactly like the old sign and the old sign is fine.  Don’t fix what’s not broken.


Jon: “Ok After a lot of consideration. I think I have a sign design that can work for all of us. Take a look.”

Displaying Cow.pngDisplaying Cow.pngCow

Stoffer Children’s costumes

We didn’t go all out as a family like the Gardners, but here are Stella and Violet’s costumes.  Stella is Rainbow Bright.  We have an old DVD of Rainbow Bright and Stella is obsessed with it.  Violet is a lion.  If we were going to do a family themed costume I thought I could dress up as a dentist from Minnesota and make a name tag for Violet that says Cecil.

New Band Discovery

Last week a buddy of mine got me a free ticket to a concert.  I was just coming back from a vacation to DC.  I was really tired and not sure I wanted to go.  I had never even heard of this artist before and hadn’t taken the time to listen to any of his music beforehand.  But then I thought about how I had not been to a concert in over a year and decided it would be good for me to get out and see a new band.

I was really glad I did.  It was an awesome show.  Maybe it was because I went in with no expectations, but it was really refreshing to discover a new band that I like.  The artist is called Youth Lagoon and I have been listening to them a lot lately.  They feel like kind of a mix between St. Vincent and El Ten Eleven. Check it out.



Understanding Fandom

I have never really been into sports. I played soccer and basketball as a kid but for whatever reason I have never really taken a great interest in sports. Maybe because I suck at them. But I do enjoy the pickup games I sometimes play, and even if I didn’t you would think I could still enjoy watching others play.  I have often puzzled over what the appeal is of watching an NBA championship. You’ve seen one jump shot you’ve seen them all, right?

Then I heard this podcast on Radiolab: It explains how exceptional circumstances can give rise to plays where the competitors go “off book”. These novel moments make spectating exciting because they reveal the endless possibilities of the game and give us something unique to remember for a lifetime.

This was an epiphany for me. Maybe this is what gets people to obsess over sports so much. The same mechanic that gets them going back to the casino. Maybe Lambeau Field is just a big Skinner box that we have collectively decided is OK to get wrapped up in. This made sense, but I still couldn’t see myself spending three hours of my Saturday watching a hockey game just on the hope that I might see Alexandre Burrows bat in a hockey puck from mid-air. I mentioned this to Steel while we were all in California.  He basically confirmed that if my entry into fandom is through these off-book moments that is not going to be enough to hold interest.

So what is it then that gets people coming back?  What is the economic incentive (behavioral or monetary) for someone to give hours and hours of time this week to a series of NBA games that will have no material impact on their life?  (Assuming they do not gamble.)


Then today I read an article that might be another clue into this world of fandom.  I don’t know why I clicked on this article about Stephen Curry’s performance in the NBA Finals.  I didn’t watch any of the games.  But I found it fascinating.  It think what drew me in was the statistical analysis and the underlying strategy that it revealed.  The article basically uses statistics to show in what areas Stephen excels and then recommends strategies that could optimize team performance.  The author then provides some counterpoints to his own argument and explores theories for why the team may not be adopting these strategies.

After reading this I was struck by how similar this article makes sports to video games.  Video games are great because you get constant performance feedback and can use that information to adjust your strategies to increase your chance of winning.  That seems to be exactly what this article is aiming to do.

So what do you guys think?  Is it stats and armchair strategizing that keeps people engaged in sports in the absence of off-book moments?  Or am I approaching this in a completely backwards manner.  Is it enough for most people to simply watch a sporting match and enjoy it without thinking about all this other stuff?

Wisdom from Jon

Hey guys.  Jon went on a pretty good rant on a family email chain recently so I am posting it here.  Enjoy.

The context is that our sister was concerned that Mom drinks too much Coke and she suggested that Mom should switch to coffee because it is less harmful.

Jon: You all are being really retarded right now. It’s called WATER. WATER. It is 100x healthier than soda and coffee. WATER. It cleans your teeth while soda and coffee just gunk it up. WATER. If you avoid getting hooked on those expensive other beverages it will be all you ever need for a pick me up. WATER. If you really cared about moms teeth you would tell her to drink WATER.

Sister: That’s fine, but mom is old. [paraphrased]

Jon: What has age got to do with it? And how is replacing a soda addiction with a coffee addiction helpful in any way? Your logic suggests that because coffee only hurts your teeth a medium amount instead of the large amount that comes from soda that it is somehow a great option… It’s like saying “Hey Bill, instead of hitting me twice in the face every day, just hit me once every day, then I will be fit as a fiddle!”I say screw that, how about you just stop hanging around Bill. Bill is clearly an ass hole.


Sometimes becoming healthier means actual sacrifice. I know Americans have trouble with this concept so we are all fat. But I cannot count how many times I have heard nutritionists beg Americans to only drink water. I remember watching Oprah and when she asked the nutritionist “what is the best thing a person can do for themselves”. The guy said only drink water and the crowd gasped as though he had said slaughter your first born (It was both funny and sad).


Basically WATER is the one and only beverage with no negative side effects. Juice, alcohol, soda, coffee, tea even milk they all lead to earlier graves. You may not like hearing that but it is the truth. So as I said, if the issue here is really about helping mom become more healthy and have stronger teeth you should be telling her the make the sacrifice, gain a bit more self control, and only drink WATER.


Sister: Of course water is best.  But as you get older your stamina drops and you just need a pick me up sometimes.  So in that case you should choose the lesser of two evils.  But you are right, in an ideal world we would all drink water.  [paraphrased]


Jon: Dude it is not hard to live without some mystical “boost in a bottle”. I have never bought into the concept of self medication as necessary. The only reason people take NyQuil when they’re sick is because the world tells them it is the only way a sick person can sleep. The world tells us we need energy in a bottle, sleep in a bottle, strength in a bottle, health and wellness in a bottle. Why are we the only gosh darn animal on this whole gosh darn planet that needs all this crap in a bottle just to get by?! Why is it that the people I know who get sick the most are also the first ones that rush to the pharmacy for every little headache? Why is it that the soda and coffee drinkers of the world are always the first to run out of energy? Do you not see the obvious signs of dependency?! We don’t need any of this crap. We take it because we think we need it because advertising firms spend billions of dollars each year convincing us we do. Stop drinking their Kool-aid! You want energy? Drink WATER and do a little exercise. A healthy person will always have more energy than they need.

Dad: Why are we talking about this when we should be talking about selling the Wholly Cow?  I’m old and want to retire. [paraphrased]

Song Challenge again!

Here is my submission guys.  I decide to do a cover in style of those Rockabye Baby CDs.  If you are not familiar with them, they are CDs of popular music turned into lullabies for babies.  Much easier to listen to than “The wheels on the bus” plus you get to feel cool that you have a hip baby who likes Smashing Pumpkins.

Anyway, I am glad there is a due date on these things because I could have probably spent another month making meaningless minor cuts and edits that wouldn’t have added too much to the production value.  This challenge has already helped me make progress creatively.


The newest member of Awesome City


Say Hello to Violet Ruby Stoffer.  Violet was born at 8:24am on Monday August 11th.  It all happened really quickly.  Marci started having contractions around 4:00am.  The midwife wanted us to stop by her clinic to check out how things were progressing, but right before we got in the car Marci declared that we had to go straight to the hospital.  The Hospital was 30 minutes away and by now it was rush hour.  I broke a number of traffic laws getting there.  By the time we got to the hospital it was a little before 7:00am.  Marci pushed for about half an hour and out came the baby.  I couldn’t believe how fast it went the second time around.

The weirdest thing was that Marci’s water never broke.  So Violet was born in her fluid sack.  When her head popped out it looked enormous due to the refraction.  Then Violet came out completely encased in the sack and the nurses had to cut it open to get her out so she could take her first breath.  So Marci basically passed an egg.

Marci and Violet are doing great and Violet is way better at breast feeding than Stella ever was.  Stella does like the baby and asked what her name was when we got home.  I don’t think she really understands what is going on though.

Here are some pictures.

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