Monday, February 28, 2011

4 months old!

So, I'm a day late, but Alli Ru turned 4 months old yesterday! I wanted to wait to do this post until we had gone to her 4 month check up so we could include her new stats of height & weight.. and give an update on how things are going! So, she is now weighing in at 12 lbs 4 oz (20th percentile), and still around the same length of 25 inches (60th percentile). Alli still wears size 1 diapers, still wears 0-3 month clothing, and is SUCH a happy girl. She is constantly smiling, cooing/talking (a LOT).. I mean, never shuts up... haha, and just seems so content, especially around us. When we go to pick her up from a nap, most times she's on her stomach, up on her elbows just checking things out. We will get up close to her and say, good morning or hello Alli girl! And a huge gummy grin comes across her face. It truly beats the wailing and crying we were previously greeted with.

Speaking of naps and sleeping, we've been on a very consistent schedule for several days now. Alli has always been a great napper (must get that from her mommy, I love naps!!), she goes down from about 9am-11am, again from about 1pm-3pm, may take a quick snoozer from 4:30pm-5:30pm... then bath around 7:15 and bed by 8. This weekend was our trial into letting her "cry it out" through her times she wakes up in the middle of the night. Usually, she only does this once or twice, so we figured it wouldn't be too awful to get through, just to let her realize that she isn't hungry and she doesn't need anything, and she can put herself back to sleep. She has always been great about sleeping in her crib (since day 1), and we don't put her down totally passed out, usually just a little sleepy so she has learned to self sooth and put herself to sleep. Friday night was just.plain.awful. She woke up around 3am (her usual... which isn't bad, but it's not "all night"/10 hrs like the books say she could be doing!), but we just let her cry. I think she cried for about 20 minutes, which seemed like 2 hrs, and then finally passed out. Eric and I thought, wow! That wasn't too bad. Then, she woke up at 4. And 4:30. And 5. And 5:30. And 6. OK, maybe I'm exaggerating, I'm not sure if she really woke up that many times, but she did wake up a few more times and cried then too. But each time, she did eventually go back to sleep. Saturday night was a million times better. She only woke up once around 4am, cried for about 15 minutes, then back to sleep until about 6:30am, which I woke and fed her then... seeing as it had been almost 12 hrs since she'd eaten. Last night was very similar... so we hope we're onto something! Now we just need to go to bed at 8pm too so we can get a full 10 hrs of sleep like she does!

happy gummy smile, I'm 4 months old!!

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Hidden Talent

A few weeks ago, I woke up around 3 AM to feed Alli Ru... (this will lead to another post coming soon... about our sleeping through the night troubles! 730pm to 3am is still about 7 and 1/2 hrs but it's still no fun for mommy to wake up at 3am!!) ANYway, I went into her room and she was on her back! This may not be exciting or any big deal to most people, but Alli only sleeps on her stomach. When I looked down into the crib and saw her face to face with me, she looked at me and grinned, and I about died! She must have rolled over just recently, and that was probably part of why she woke up. I was shocked. I think I woke Dad-E up while I was raving to her about her new talent of rolling over. Even if we hadn't seen her do it, she obviously had to get that way somehow! Then, again, a couple nights later, the same thing! I try all day when I'm home to put her on her belly and have her roll over while I'm actually watching, and she gets very close, but never does.

Today, when we put Ru down for her afternoon nap, she wasn't quite asleep yet but getting there. We went downstairs and could still hear her up there, talking and babbling away. After about 10 minutes of her still talking away, we noticed it sounded a little louder. We headed upstairs, and who was on her back again?! Alli! She was smiley and talkative, but obviously not in her normal "sleeping" position. So, we put her back on her belly and tried again. We headed downstairs again, then came up after a little while... and she had done it AGAIN! Back to her back. We just had to die laughing now... I mean what, is this her hidden talent that she'll only do when we're not watching?? So, we decided to put her back on her belly yet again, and stay in her room toward the end of her crib so she couldn't see us to see if we could catch her in the act. We saw her get so close... she was on her side with her arms and legs flying all around... but, she must have been exhausted by then, because she finally passed out to sleep. Go figure, the one time we wanted her to stay awake so we could see her hidden talent, she falls asleep. Oh, little girl, always an adventure with you...

Friday, February 25, 2011

It's a Boy!

NO, not another baby for Eric & I yet. =) Wednesday, my friend Tara who lives in Texas had a beautiful baby boy, Luke, weighing in at over 9 lbs! She didn't find out the sex of baby Luke before he was born, so we were all anxious and excited to find out if the baby was a boy or a girl. Looks like another boy to add to Alli's list of friends... Then yesterday, my friend Alice from work found out they are having a baby boy in July! So all that's left for surprises is my friend Gena, who's in Charlotte, to have her mystery sex baby in April! We are so excited to see if Alli's going to have yet another boy we're going to have to fight off (those killer blue eyes will melt all the boys hearts!), or a little southern belle girlfriend! So excited to go up to Charlotte next weekend for her baby shower to see how her belly has grown since I've seen her last, and for her & Uncle Rob to meet Alli for the first time too!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

8 years...

Some of you probably recall this post where I talked about all the things in my life that have led me to where I am today. Well, Tuesday was Mommy B & I's 8-year dating anniversary. It was just over 8 years ago that we began our lifelong journey together, and my how far we've come. We recounted the trips we've taken together, places we've gone together, things we've overcome together and things we've accomplished together. It was quite a list we came up with... and one day we'll have to write them all down.

Even though we've done so much together, I began thinking about everything that had happened in my life prior to meeting Mommy B. I started with how we met and thought backwards to see if I could trace our meeting as far back as possible. What series of events led me to meet my wonderful bride? The farthest back I could go would be to my great-grandmother. See if you can keep up...

My great-grandmother decided (for whatever reason) to send my grandmother to a school in Cincinnati known as Seven Hills School. It had a different name back then, but ranged from Kindergarten all the way through high school (or "finishing school" back then). My grandmother graduated from there, and decided to send my mother there as well. She graduated from there, and decided to send all three of her children there to continue the legacy. Here's where things get interesting.

After my 8th grade year at Seven Hills, my older brother and I decided that we no longer wanted to continue our education there and wished to transfer somewhere else. Even though we were leaving behind a 3-generation legacy, we couldn't stand the teachers we currently had and couldn't imagine having to spend the rest of our high school careers there. This school was so small it didn't even have a football team!

So off I went to McNicholas High School to begin a new chapter in my life at a new school. Even though it was a catholic high school, this was how high school was really supposed to be. Football games on Friday nights, enough classmates to populate a small village, and a chance to finally date someone I hadn't known since we were in diapers together. During my freshman year, I began dating (somewhat regrettably) a girl that had come from one of the "feeder" middle schools. Luckily for me, dating her meant that I basically had instant access to all of her friends that had come to McNick as well. Being such a classy guy (who hadn't even hit puberty yet), I fit right in with her crowd.

Well, our "relationship" didn't last very long and she actually ended up transferring elsewhere. However, I was able to keep all the friends I had made through her. Little did I know at the time that one of those kids would actually become my best friend and later my Best Man. And here's why...

My best friend Ryan graduated from McNick and went off to Wright State University while I went off to Denison University. Well as fate would have it, Ryan just so happened to live one floor below Mommy B in their dormitory their freshman year. Being the social butterfly that he is, Ryan basically met everyone in the dorm within the first few weeks of class. He had a picture of me (among other friends also) in his dorm room and it caught Mommy B's eye one day. She asked when I was coming to visit, and needless to say Ryan told me to make a trip very soon. That's when I met Mommy B for the first time and we connected instantly.

We began officially dating February 22nd, 2003 and have been together ever since. We weathered the long-distance (exactly 100 miles) relationship for 4 years of college and decided that when we graduated we would not only be together, but we would go somewhere warmer. Fast forward 4 years and here we are - living the American dream. Married, house, cars, careers, golden retriever and a little baby girl... all within driving distance of the ocean. Not too shabby if you ask me.

While there are plenty more details I could have included along the way, these were the major influences that led me to where I am today. After all, I could probably write a book if I wanted to include everything. Even though Mommy B and I started dating 8 years ago, our journey together began way before then.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Cartoon of the Week

Love it!! We get asked a lot who we think Alli looks like (I think the eyes are an obvious one... dad!!), but this most recent picture I took of the two of them together just goes to show how similar they really are... same facial expression in this picture or what?! But, I've also got a few baby pictures of myself that in comparison to Alli, I'd say we have some similarities as well. I'll post those someday soon. She's a great mixture of both of us, and hopefully all the good qualities of both of us as well. :o) It also doesn't hurt that many people think Dad-E and I look a lot like each other anyway...

Tuesday, February 22, 2011


I can't even remember the last time I saw a real bartender to order myself a drink. I think that most people who have never been a bartender themself have a love/hate relationship with bartenders. You love them because they are able to provide you with the cocktail of your choice (or imagination) when you're out having a good time with friends. You hate them because no matter how much you yell or how much money you wave at them, they ignore you if you aren't an attractive young female.

Well, I've never felt more like a bartender in my life until now. You want a Cosmo in a cocktail glass? Tough dootie. You want a single-malt scotch in a highball glass? Not gonna happen. You want a tasty draft beer in a frosted mug? Try next door. The only beverage I'm serving these days - is milk. Fresh out of the bottle-warmer in a short, stout bottle with a slow-flow nipple on top. Just the way Alli likes it...

Alli has turned into a milkaholic over the past couple weeks. She used to have 3 to 4 bottles while at daycare, each filled with 3oz. She now easily drains 4 40z bottles and has a couple-ounce topper when she gets home. Not to mention what she has before she goes to bed, what she has when she wakes up at night (which has become less frequent lately, thank goodness) and what she eats when she wakes up in the morning. Needless to say, she's been putting some milk down.

Once I get Alli to bed at night, I immediately come downstairs and begin washing her bottles out from the day - which can be anywhere from 4-6 empty bottles that need to be cleaned out before we start all over again the next morning. I rinse out all the bottles, then line them up in the sink bartender-style and pour in dish soap like I'm pouring shots of tequila. My, how the tides have shifted... now I'm the lucky one who gets to serve the attractive young female.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

There's no use crying over spilled milk...

Well... it finally happened to me. I have heard horror stories and have friends who have talked about spilling their breast milk after a great pumping session, and I've secretly been smiling inside that nothing like that would happen to me! I've always been extra careful after I'm done, making sure to take my time with everything when putting the cap on, cleaning up, etc. Well, today, I shed some tears over spilled milk. Whoever came up with that phrase, "there's no use crying over spilled milk", never spent precious time during a busy day with needy, sick patients, hurrying to pump milk for their needy, healthy, growing baby at home!! Here's how it happened...

I was already upset and getting worried that I'm not going to be able to keep up with Ru's needs (that whole supply vs. demand thing that Eric learned so much while obtaining his economics degree). She has all of a sudden, maybe a growth spurt?!, decided to eat like a cow! We went out to dinner with Eric's parents last night, took two 4 oz bottles and one 2 oz bottle with us, and between the time we took driving downtown, eating dinner & driving home (maybe 3 and 1/2 hrs?), she ate it all. ALL of it! At daycare this past week, she's downed all the 4 oz bottles we've sent with her... and one day, she even had two back to back at one sitting. So needless to say, we've had to break into some of the frozen supply, and I'm all worried I'm not going to be making enough for her much longer. Once again, we are so anxious for this doctor's appt coming up next Monday the 28th, so we can see what they have to say about her starting real food/cereal/whatever! So anyway, back to the spilled milk... I packed up my supply that I'd gathered during my shift at work (about 14 oz or so..) and headed home. When I got home and opened my bag, there was milk spilled everywhere. One of the bottles did not have the cap on securely, and needless to say, it went everywhere. I ended up with maybe about 8 oz left, barely two bottles for Alli! I was in tears. Eric had gone to get us Subway for dinner, and when he came home, I was shaking from being so upset, and had my whole frozen stock out of the freezer just to count again & see where we stood with supply. We're fine and I think things are going to be fine, but it's still so upsetting! Such hard work, all down the drain... or in this case, down the side of my bag....

Friday, February 18, 2011

Gripe of the week

OK, I'm not really going to come here and complain about something different each week because let's be honest, who really wants to read about that? But, there is something I want to complain about being a relatively new dad. Let it serve as a warning to any soon-to-be parents out there. And that is... (drum roll please)... Baby Sleepers with buttons. There are a few reasons for my disdain towards these inventions, and here's why:

As many current parents have most likely figured out by now, the "changing" process for an infant very closely mimics that of a NASCAR pit crew. You need to be in and out as quickly as possible, but you have to do a good job otherwise someone is going to have a problem very soon. And everyone knows who's fault it'll be too. The faster you can get that diaper changed and get the kiddo back to whatever they were doing, the happier everyone will be. In my experience, sleepers with buttons goes completely against this theory.

Now, certain individuals (like Mommy B) have smaller and more nimble fingers than I do, so this issue is moot for them. However, if you've ever shaken my hand you know right away that I don't exactly have the smallest digits. Another trait that my father passed on to me was his ginormous hands. I know that's not a real word, but have you ever seen someone break a sledgehammer into two pieces with their bare hands? Yeah, that was called 'Pulling a Big Meibs' around our house growing up. Stuff like that happened so often we actually came up with a phrase for it.

You see, his hands are proportionate to the rest of his body - all 6 feet 6 inches of it. He actually won a $100 bet one time that his hand spans 10 inches from the tip of his thumb to the tip of his ring finger. Well guess what? Sonny-boy over here got 9 inches of that... attached to a 5 foot 10 inch frame. Needless to say, hands the size of my dad's look kind of funny on a guy like me.

I joke to everyone that I have baseball gloves for hands - which illustrates my dilemma. If you ever have the chance, try buttoning your shirt with a catcher's mit on... and you'll feel my pain. Having banana hands makes it rather difficult to get an infant out of and back into a sleeper when there are miniature buttons all the way up the front. My hands were made to palm a basketball, grip a hammer, and give a killer back rub (just ask Mommy B)... not button mini buttons. The folks that made infant sleepers with buttons obviously assumed that only people with small fingers would be dealing with them. Well, I got news for them - I'm buying zip-ups from now on.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Life of a former only child (ok, dog...)

So I'm sure this whole transition of a new baby in the house has taken quite a toll on our previously spoiled only child/dog, Scarlett. At just around the same time that Alli was born, the vet had told us that Scarlett was overweight and needed to go on diet dog food. So, here we were, giving Scarlett diet dog food which she definitely did not enjoy, and adding a new baby to the family... her stress level was at an all time high. We also got rid of her cage about this time too... to make room for the Pack 'n Play, and later for the Christmas tree... and we've never put it back downstairs since. Needless to say, that's a lot of change for any person, let alone a habitual dog. She has been quite a trooper... and I'm sure her biggest challenge has been going from being walked, to now getting walked mainly on the weekends, and maybe once in awhile when it's a nice day when I've got the day off.

She has seemed to age several years from all this transition, and we do enjoy having a more mellow dog once in awhile. We used to talk to her while on our walks when we'd see little children and say to her, "oh, soon you'll have a new baby here to play with like that kid!!" She'd look at us happily thinking, "Oh boy!!! My own little human!?!" But now, I'm sure she's wondering when the playing & fun part will come in. She's been an excellent spit up cleaner up-er, lifeguard during baths, and guard dog at night as she sleeps by her crib (so adorable!!!!) I think of my childhood dog that I grew up with, Jake, and I will never forget all the fun times I had with him. I know that Alli will appreciate and love Scarlett once she gets a little older, and I know a certain dog who sure can't wait until her little human is grown up and will throw the ball to her. It's going to be adorable to see the two of them grow up together. We can't wait!
HI! Will you be my little human?!

 When will she be fun and not just make those awful noises??

Hi friend, you're getting a little better all the time!

What's in your CD case?

There's an old saying that goes "You can learn a lot about a person based on what kind of music they listen to." Well, I think that statement is only half-true... I mean if you were to look at my taste in music, you'd probably conjure up a mental image of a long-haired head-banger wearing a cowboy hat and face paint. OK, maybe not the cowboy hat - that's just to please Mommy B.

Besides, people's taste in music changes constantly. I'm a perfect example of this notion. Back in the day I was a (Joker's) card-carrying, face-painting, knew-every-word-to-every-song-on-every-album fan of the Insane Clown Posse. Don't judge, I was in high school and had barely hit puberty at the time. I used to listen to all their music (none of which was on the radio) and paint my face to look like KISS (for all you older folks) when going to their concerts. And I've got the photos to prove it...

However, I haven't listened to one of their albums in years. It's not that I don't enjoy the music any more, but more so that my tastes have changed. I'd much rather listen to Jimmy Buffett sing about boat drinks on a beach than listen to Violent J (that's his real name) rap about sipping Faygo on a back porch in Detroit. The ICP CD's that I own have slowly made their way to the back of my CD case as more current artists begin to fill the front.

I'm a big fan of downloading music I like (for free) and burning a CD that contains a whole bunch of different artists. The concept of listening to 80 minutes of the same band is just plain boring for our ADD generation. That being the case, you would probably have a hard time figuring out what kind of person I am by looking in my CD case - because they are all just blank CD's with numbers on them.

There is, however, one thing that you could tell - that I'm a parent. I've had to demote all my good friends back a few pages to make room for someone else. My good pals Breaking Benjamin, Disturbed, Five Finger Death Punch and Insane Clown Posse had to take a back seat to the Top 50 Singalong Songs collection that Mommy B and I received as a gift for Alli. No more face paint (unless it's for Alli at Halloween), no more head banging, no more loud screaming into the microphone... but you better believe the wheels on the bus go round and round, all through the town.

So maybe you can tell a lot about a person by what type of music they listen to. While I might not enjoy listening to Old McDonald and his farm every time Alli is in the car, I'm sure she appreciates it... or will someday.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Happy Valentine's Day

Alli celebrated her first Valentine's Day yesterday! She was still getting over her little cold (which she's given to mommy & daddy... and now daddy's the worst out of us all!!), but she had a playdate with my friend Dawn's kids, Austyn & Zane. Austyn is about 9 months old, and Zane's 2, so it was a riot. Austyn was playing in Alli's jumperoo, Zane was running all over the house, and Alli was just sitting in her bumbo taking it all in. It was definitely cute to see her "interacting" with other kids though, and I'm sure now that she really enjoys seeing the other kids at daycare too. So fun!

She also got to "meet" her cousin Max yesterday as well! Dad-E & I were able to Skype with Uncle Matthew & Aunt Kristi, and their new baby (Alli's cousin)! It was cute to see them both kind of staring at each other (even though Max is only a little over a month, so I think he was more interested in eating than anything else! haha), but it's also great to know they'll be able to grow up seeing each other through the computer while they're miles apart. They'll get to meet in real life this July too, which is something we're all looking forward to!

Happy Valentine's Day from little Ru!!

Cartoon of the Week

This one definitely just makes me laugh...

Although Dad-E has gotten so great at taking care of her (he's truly a Mr. Mom these days!), it still sometimes seems like only mommy will make her quiet down. He'll try holding her the way I do, and it just doesn't work out the same way. I do kind of like that feeling of knowing she wants mommy to cuddle with, I hope that continues on for a long, long time. :o)

Sunday, February 13, 2011

It Takes a Village to Raise A Child

This popular quote would refer to me and my upbringing.. and since seeing Dad-E's previous post about thanking his parents, I thought I should thank all of those that helped raise me as well! Being an only child and an only grandchild, it's easy to say I was pretty spoiled and got a lot of attention growing up. Not the bad kind of spoiled brat-ness, we didn't have the "best" or the "newest" of everything all the time, but I think I turned out all right regardless! I still do have trouble though with the whole "fair" and "sharing" concepts, me being an only child and all (well, my step & half-brother's are pretty great, not trying to count them out, it's just that I grew up living by myself as an only child, and saw them occassionally as well). Anyway, growing up with divorced, young parents, and very involved grandparents, as well as loving uncles, and my mom's countless number of friends, I'd have to say I was so lucky to have so many people care about and love me. I learned to grow up pretty fast, as most of my "playmates" were my mom's friends, and to this day, I still would consider many of those close friends of hers my family... and know that they would do just about anything for me as well. Even at my wedding, I think I had more of my mom's friends there than my own friends, it's just the way I was raised.

It's hard to know that Alli Ru won't have all that family and my close friends down here to grow up with and to be raised by, but I hope the values, lessons and love I learned and value from the way I was raised are instilled upon her. It took a village to raise me, and I know that same village & more love Alli Ru too, even if it's from over 600 miles away...

Tax Deduction Baby

Just filed our taxes... and thanks, Alli Ru, for being born at the end of the year so we could claim you & get more money back! Maybe we'll just put it away in an account for your college fund!

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Thanking your parents

After spending the last few days caring for a sick infant, I realized something that I'm sure every parent of older children already knows... your kids will never really thank you for everything you did for them when they were little. Sure, they'll thank you for buying them that new action figure they wanted, or thank you when you let a friend stay over for the night. They might even thank you for sending them to that expensive college they were accepted to... but they'll probably never thank you for the countless sleepless nights you spent caring for them when they were young. They'll probably never thank you for sucking the snot out of their nose when they were sick just so they could breathe, or thank you for letting them sleep on your chest because it was the only comfortable position for them at the time. They'll probably never thank you for checking on them as they fell asleep to make sure they didn't kick the blanket off them self, or thank you for rubbing Vick's on their chest to try and help them feel better.

Having done all of this for Alli already (and she's not even 4 months old yet), I realized that I've never really thanked my parents for all they did for me when I was little. Of course, my parents have never really told me everything they did for me... probably because there's too much to remember. And, I have a feeling that most parents probably don't mention it because they don't want to give their child a guilt trip and make them feel like they will always be indebted to their parents.

All of this hit me this morning as I was doing some Mr. Fix-it chores around the house. Mommy B's sink was draining a little slow (anyone who's ever lived with a female understands why) so I took the liberty of unhooking the stopper and removing it so I could extract the small animal from the drain. Mommy B expressed her gratitude that I was able to resolve the situation so quickly and easily (even though it didn't seem that way to her). It was at that moment I realized where I learned to accomplish such a task... my parents. Specifically, my dad.

Anyone who has ever spent any significant amount of time with my father will learn a few obvious things about him. He's big (he is known as Big Meibs), loud (duh, look at the last name), good-looking (for a grandpa in his 50's) and he can fix anything. And when I say anything, I mean an-y-thing. From putting together a bicycle to changing the oil in our cars to building a house (from the footers to the rafters). There I go, using construction terminology in a blog post - but that's what you get from growing up with sawdust in your shoes. What's even more astounding is that this man did it all right in front of my very eyes, without ever cracking an instruction manual. It was simply amazing to watch sometimes...

Growing up as a (middle) child, I was a very observant little kiddo. I spent a lot of time hanging around my dad when he was demolishing, building, or fixing things around our house. I don't know if he realized at the time exactly how much I was taking in, and maybe I didn't either. But lo and behold, over a decade later I can still remember how to properly straddle ceiling joists. Thanks to him, I too can change the oil in both our cars, repair a screened-in porch, patch drywall, pour concrete, fix a sink, change a tire, landscape a yard, use any tool in a garage and operate just about any piece of heavy machinery. Heck, there are millions of people out there who don't even know the difference between a socket wrench and an impact wrench (hint: one of them uses compressed air!) Needless to say, my siblings and I never had to go very long with something being broken. Whether it was our favorite toy that needed fixing or a whole 2nd story added to our house so us kids could each have our own room, Pops was the man for the job.

There are a hundred other things I've learned just by watching him work, but I can't possibly list them all. My dad taught me more than just how to use my hands, he taught me how to use my head as well. Both of my parents did that, actually. Any halfway-decent parent can tell you that parenting is more than just what you can do with your hands... but what you can do with your heart too.

I guess what I'm really trying to say is Thank you, Mom & Dad. Thank you for not only caring for me when I was little, but for teaching me what it takes to do the same for my child. Of course I love little Alli with everything I have, but thanks to my parents I'm going to be able to fix anything of her's that's broken - whether that's her little dolly or her heart. I just hope that she'll learn as much from me as I learned from my parents...

All day, All night

I do believe we had commented this may happen on a different blog post previously, so of course, we jinxed ourselves and it just happened right away. Alli's first two weeks of daycare are complete, and of course, we had a sick baby these past few days. We got home from Florida and could tell she was starting to have a runny nose and cough. It just got worse throughout the day Monday, and she was just so miserable looking & sounding. However, she was in great spirits and didn't act sick (thank goodness!), still smiling, talking a whole bunch, and finding a new favorite thing... blowing her lips to make the sound of a motorboat, it's so funny. Even the ladies at daycare on Tuesday stated, "Wow, Alli must have really found her voice this past weekend, she talks all the time!" (Looks like we're in for it when she can really talk!)

Anyway, Wednesday night had to be the worst we've had since she was very little. She just couldn't seem to get comfortable, was coughing a lot, and her nose was so stuffy. We had her Vick's vaporizer set up in her room, which seemed to help, but really, we knew you just have to wait it out when they are this little. So we put her to bed around the normal time of 7:30, and we were up... at 10:30, at 12, at 2:30, at 4 and of course, at 5 when my alarm went off. Eric spent half the night in an upright position with her laying on him because it seemed that made her most comfortable for the drainage and coughing to not be so bad.

So, after being up all night with a sick baby, I got to spend all day with other sick babies (and big kids). I don't know how we did it or got through it. I know Eric was absolutely exhausted too... and thank God for him, I don't know how I would've done that all night on my own, we definitely had to be a great team and take care of her in shifts. Too bad our work places didn't realize that we had already worked all night, and too bad you don't get paid to be parents. So all day, as snotty nose kids at work were cuddling on me as their parents took naps, I wanted to scream, it's not fair! I'm tired too! But, oh, the life of a nurse... I really do love what I do.

She's starting to feel better now, thank goodness.. but now who's sick? Mommy B & Dad-E... but, there's no sick days in parenting.

Friday, February 11, 2011

For every stoplight I didn't make...

For those of you that didn't know, former Hootie and the Blowfish frontman-turned country solo star Darius Rucker was born and raised right here in Chucktown. Every year he has a concert on Daniel Island (which sells out in record time) and plays songs from his days in Hootie and from his solo career. Before he went solo (and had some hits), us "locals" used to joke that Charleston was the only city in the country that still sells out a "Hootie and the Blowfish" concert.

His most recent solo album is titled "Charleston, SC 1966" and the cover features a picture of Darius (we're on a first-name basis with him around here) with our famous Arthur Ravenel Jr. bridge in the background. It was released just a couple weeks before Alli was born and Mommy B just had to have it. So we bought the CD and started listening to it in the car on our way home. The very first song on the album is called "This" and the lyrics really struck a chord.

To show you what I mean, here is the first verse and the chorus:

Got a baby girl sleepin' in my bedroom
And her momma laughing in my arms
There's the sound of rain on the rooftop
And the game's about to start
I don't really know how I got here
But I'm so glad that I did
And it's crazy to think that one little thing
Could have changed all of this
Maybe it didn't turned out like I planned
Maybe that's why I'm such, such a lucky man

Every stoplight I didn't make
Every chance I did or I didn't take
All the nights I went to far
All the girls that broke my heart
All the doors that I had to close
All the things I knew but I didn't know
Thank God for all I missed
Cause it led me here to this

Little did we know at the time that we would end up having a girl ourselves. Regardless of Alli's gender, it made me really think about all the choices and events in my life that led up to that point. After Alli was born, I listened to the song again and began to think about what could have gone differently in the past that could have completely changed how things turned out. I'm sure everyone has thought about it at one point or another in their life... how could have one decision or event completely altered the course of your life? That one time when you went left instead of right... or that time you decided to go out instead of staying home? What about that time you said yes when you should have said no... or that time you did something you know you shouldn't have?

I don't want to sound too cryptic or "deep", but I sometimes sit in amazement thinking about how the series of events in my past have led me to where I am today. Just a quick example: Alli would not be here today if it wasn't for a picture of me in my boxers on my best friend's dorm room wall. Nor would Scarlett have the loving home she does (she might not be alive either), we wouldn't have the house we do, I wouldn't have the successful career I do and I probably wouldn't even live in South Carolina for that matter. So... thank God for all I've missed, cause it led me here to this...

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Hot and Cold

I've never had such a roller coaster of emotions until I became a parent. One minute you're playing on the couch with your kiddo, the next minute you're cleaning milk-barf off the microfiber. One moment I'm pleading with Alli to stop screaming bloody murder (as my mom used to call it) and the next she's laughing and giggling. You wake up an hour before your alarm goes off and smile because you know you have another hour to snooze... then the baby wakes up (and the smile quickly fades).

Hot then cold. Sad then happy. Up then down. Rinse. Repeat.

Just when you think you're getting into a good rhythm, she does something off the wall that makes you want to pull out your hair. You begin to question why you ever decided to become a parent in the first place. Then, just when you think you can't take it anymore, she does something cute that makes me smile the biggest proud-papa smile I've ever had. Kids just have that effect on you... and there isn't much you can do about it.

People ask me all the time how parenting is going. The best description I can give them is "The lows are pretty low, but the highs are so high." In the beginning, there is just enough good to outweigh the bad. It's just enough to make you reconsider giving your child up for adoption when you're awake at 3am for the fourth night in a row.

As Alli gets older (a whole 3.5 months now), the bad becomes less and the good becomes more. There's more hot than cold. And you can ask any Damn Yankee around these parts, we moved down here to be hot.

Cartoon of the Week

Another breastfeeding post... sorry if these are annoying to anyone, but it's definitely something that amazes me and that I'm proud of. It's hard to believe that we've kept Alli alive & growing this long now on just breastmilk! I am shocked and in awe by how amazing the stuff is. I research and read about it quite a bit, just to make sure I'm doing everything I can to give her the best quality (& keep up the quantity!) of milk she needs and deserves. My goal after she was born was to breastfeed for at least 6 months, and we're almost to 4! A friend of ours in the neighborhood told me she breastfed her son until he was 22 months old... now, that's not going to happen for me, but I'm definitely willing to go past my six month goal and make it to the first year if she continues to do well & grow! We'll see how things look at her 4 month check up (where she is weight wise & all), but the doctor told us we could start rice cereal then too, so, I'm keeping my fingers crossed that she's growing well and he sees no need to add any formula supplement to her diet. She has started to down practically every bottle we send to daycare like a champ, so we're thinking we need to up it from 3 oz to 3 and 1/2 or 4 oz. We're going to try that tomorrow & Friday and see how things go.

And here's my fun breastmilk fact for the day, in regards to quality of breastmilk:
Unless your diet is so limited that you are virtually/literally starving, your milk will always be perfect for your baby. Your body provides for baby first. (Think about all the women in third world countries who breastfeed successfully on diets of little more than rice or cornmeal. Think about all the women in past centuries who breastfed successfully while living almost excusively on bread or potatoes.) If your diet is poor YOU will become run-down because you will lack the nutrients and calories to sustain your own metabolism. So eat up, and know that you're giving your baby the best he or she can have, and something only a mother can provide.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

What's the Half-Life of a Diaper?

When I was in nursing school, we learned a lot about the half-life of many medications in our pharmacology courses. Basically, the duration of action of a drug is known as its half life. This is the period of time required for the concentration or amount of drug in the body to be reduced by one-half. So, if the half life of a certain medicine, like Tylenol, is 4 hours, it means there is only half as much medicine in your body 4 hours after you take it as there is when you first take it.

So yesterday I got to thinking about the "duration of action" of diapers, and what the half-life of a diaper really amounts to.  It's not exactly the perfect analogy, but it made me think I really should have bought stock in diapers. Take last night as a prime example. When Alli got out of the bath, we put on baby lotion, baby powder and a fresh Pampers diaper... then literally 30 seconds later... we heard the sound of an explosion. We opened up that lovely clean diaper we had just put on, and there's a huge mess. So, onto a fresh new diaper. Really?! I mean that diaper from post-bath lasted, what, 30 seconds? How much do you think an individual diaper costs, and how can something so valuable only last 30 seconds? I'm so amazed by it. I guess I shouldn't be, but wow... the girl can go through some diapers.

It's a good thing we had such amazing friends & family at our baby showers and have only had to buy one pack of diapers so far in over three months. We still haven't had to buy any formula since she's been exclusively breast fed as well, so, she gets more headbands and cute pink outfits since we are saving a little money here & there. Lucky girl. :o)

Monday, February 7, 2011

Surprise, surprise!

This past weekend was a pretty eventful few days for the Meibers clan. Mommy B and I had strategically arranged our work schedules so that we could have a 4-day break from reality. And by that I mean Mommy B worked normally and I had to take two days of vacation. The reason for this little break was actually to pack up the Griswold family truckster and head southbound to Orlando, FL to pay a surprise visit to Grandma C who was vacationing there with some friends. Naturally, all of her friends were in on the surprise, but GC was none the wiser. You would think she would be after getting to know me for the last 8 years...

Anyway, Mommy B obtained Grandma C's flight itinerary and hotel reservations from her friends, and we booked the same hotel for the same days she was going to be there. So Thursday morning we packed Alli Ru in the backseat and made the 6-hour sprint to the Sunshine State. We checked into the hotel hours before GC and Crew arrived, so we asked the manager for a favor... We told him the situation (all while holding Alli up on the hotel counter for good measure) and asked if we could get a room close by. He told us that not only could he get us a room close by, but could get us the room next door that had a connecting door in between. We said that would be perfect and told them to send up the portable crib as soon as possible (Alli really needed a nap after all the driving).

Within a couple hours, Grandma C and Crew were finally checked in and getting settled in the room next door. Of course, we could hear them coming down the hallway (thanks to GC's friends who knew we were next door) and we readied the Ru for her grand entrance. We had planned on having one of GC's friends pretend to call Room Service and have us knock on the door, but what happened next couldn't have been any better.

Leave it to Grandma C to discover that their room had a connecting door and decide to open it to check things out. She actually opened the door on their side and said "Oh geez, I wonder if we have neighbors? They're really not going to like us after this trip!" Of course, all her friends had cameras in hand, waiting for something to happen...

The next thing she knew, the door on our side flung open and there was her grandchild looking back at her. You should have seen the expression on her face! She was absolutely shocked that not only did someone open the door while she was leaning on it, but that her daughter, son-in-law and granddaughter were staying right next door! All her friends caught it on camera, so I'm sure there will be pictures on Facebook soon enough. Grandma C couldn't have been happier that she was going to spend the next couple days with her best friends and her granddaughter at the same time.

We spent the next couple days hanging out in Orlando, getting our fill of Steak 'n Shake (we really miss that down here) and watching Grandma C elated to be seeing her granddaughter again. Even though she's coming to Chucktown in a month or so, it was a really great surprise for her. Even though Mommy B and I didn't get a Date Night out of it, it was well worth the trip.

Alli Ru and I waiting in the hotel room for Grandma C to arrive!

Hug for Grandma C! Surprise!

Sunday, February 6, 2011

The Stupid Comments Don't Stop Once Baby Comes...

So my dear friend Gena had a post recently on her blog about stupid comments people make to you when you're pregnant.. actually, she comments about this quite frequently :o) And I do remember how annoying and ridiculous people can be. I remember going to work during that last week before my due date and someone on the elevator saying, "Wow you're so big, you're still working??" Umm yes, that would be why I'm dressed in scrubs, headed up to the 7th floor at 6:45am, that would be because I'm still working. Thanks Mr. Obvious.

But once the baby's here, you'd think those comments would go away? Well now, it's more stupid people making you feel awkward and unsure of how to respond...

Take this weekend, when we were in Florida to surprise Grandma C (more on that story to come!!), a lady at the alligator park questioned, "Aww, how old is she?" I replied, "A little over 3 months!" Her response? "Oh! A premie, right?" Umm, no. Actually, she was overbaked by 4 days, she's in the 40th percentile for weight, and the doctor says she's growing just fine, but thanks for asking. Other people say things like, "Oh she's so long!" (what do you say, thank you??), or "she's so active for a 3 month old!" (what, should I worry she has ADD already?) I know many people are just trying to be nice and for the most part, they are great and sweet comments... but there are some times when you just don't know how to respond. So Gena, get ready, it doesn't stop once the lil peanut arrives!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Cartoon of the Week

SO fitting for this week... hopefully it gets easier and easier.. and I'm SO glad and thankful it's not me having to take lil Ru to daycare. Eric said it was definitely a little better on Tuesday, but still hard. She has been such a trooper though, not crying at all he tells me! So, maybe she's having fun with her new friends! I sure hope so!

Mr. Mom

Well I have to say, I couldn't be more proud of my wonderful husband or love him more than I have come to these past few days. He has gone from a working husband who got to go for a run, have a few drinks with friends, or just relax after work... to a daddy who wakes up at 5am, watches me walk out the door at 6am, gets Alli up, dressed, fed & off to daycare, all in time for he himself to get to work by 8. Then after work, he picks her up, feeds her again, gives her a bath, and puts her to bed... not to mention makes us dinner and washes bottles after that, with barely time to plop down on the couch when I walk in the door at 8pm. In all honesty, the past two days when I've walked in he's still been standing, so I take that back, he probably doesn't even have time to sit on the couch! I'm sure it's exhausting and a whole new routine is never easy for anyone. But he's taken it on with no complaints, and even happily states that he feels closer to Alli now than ever, since they get so much bonding time now as just the two of them. It makes my heart melt to think of father & daughter just spending time together, splashing in the tub, and then him rocking her to sleep. Of course on the flip side, it crushes me to miss these moments, as working 12 hr shifts really means I hardly see Alli at all. But, it makes the time I do get with her even more exciting. I couldn't be happier to hang out with her all day today... although she probably finds me boring compared to her friends and all the stimulation at daycare!

Anyway though, just wanted to give my husband a huge pat on the back, and hug and kiss :o) and let him know how appreciated he is by both of his girls. (and Scarlett too.. although she is probably feeling a little neglected these days... but comes with the territory! She is still a rescue dog that should be grateful to have a loving home and a couch and bed to sleep on at night!)

Maybe this shirt will be Eric's birthday gift next month!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

The first day is always the hardest...

Monday was Alli's first day at daycare, and I had the honor of dropping her off all by myself. And I have to say, I'll never forget how I felt walking out the door of the daycare to my car. It was the most god-awful feeling I've ever experienced in my life.

For those of you who don't have kids, I don't know how to describe it to you. I would imagine it's similar to having your heart ripped out of your chest. It literally felt like someone was reaching into my stomach and turning it upside down. It's almost impossible to describe how it feels to leave your child like that, even if it is at a well-respected daycare facility.

After dropping Alli off in her classroom, putting her bottles away and filling out a sheet noting when I dropped her off and the last time she ate, I had to turn around and walk out without her. On my way out, I ran into one of our friends who was dropping her daughter off as well (a much older daughter, though). I did the best I could to smile and say Hi, but once I hit the door it all came welling up. I had to bite my lip as I walked across the parking lot to avoid causing a scene. As soon as I shut the car door and turned the key, I starting bawling like an 8 year-old girl who just found out that Justin Bieber is gay. I sobbed to myself the entire 20 minute drive to work. Once I got there, I just wanted to sit in the parking lot and cry it out for an hour.

Call me a girl, wuss, pansy... call me what you will. Maybe it would be different if Alli was a boy, but probably not. Either way, I wouldn't wish that feeling on my worst enemies. Don't get me wrong, I know Alli is in the care of top-notch professionals (trust me, the monthly daycare bill will remind me of that), but you can't help but think about what she's really doing and thinking while you're gone.

Is she confused with these new people taking care of her - changing her, feeding her, playing with her? What about when she wakes up from her naps? She's always used to seeing Mommy B's smiling face - "Who is this stranger (of a different skin tone, no less) picking me up now?"

Is she sleeping OK during nap times? Does she miss the felt blanket of her crib at home? Is it too loud and bright for her to get a decent nap? Are the other kids screaming too much for her to fall asleep? Does she even care, or is she just going to pass out anyway?

Is she going to get along with the other kids? Are there enough kids her age to interact with? Are they going to end up getting her sick? I know that's inevitable...

Is she ever just sitting there by herself, wondering when Mommy B or Dad-E will come hold her just the way she likes it?
How much is she really crying during the day? I mean come on, are they really going to tell me that she had an awful day and cried the whole time? Doubtful... no one would bring their kid back the next day if they thought their child was having a terrible time there...

Are her teachers going to know how much she likes to be held? Are they going to figure out that she likes to lay on her back in the morning, then sit up in a Bumbo in the afternoon? Can they keep all this straight while watching nine other kids??

OK - enough freaking out. After the first day, just about all my fears were put to rest. She got a couple naps in, drained almost all 6 bottles Mommy B packed for her (that's my girl!), and actually smiled at me when I walked into her classroom to pick her up. She even fell asleep in the car on the way home holding onto my finger... made me want to start bawling all over again.

I remember being a kid and being nervous and scared about the first day of school... little did I know that it's even worse being the parent. The good news is that it only gets better from here.

By the way - our little angel slept from 7:30pm last night until 4:30am this morning. She slept all the way through, without waking up once. And to think that Mommy B was actually upset because she missed spending time with Alli Ru. Funny, I recall a recent post talking about how worried she was that she was going to have to go to work after being up all night with a hungry baby...