Thursday, March 31, 2011

Cartoon of the Week

I wanted to use this comic and this time to give a big, gracious thank you to all of our family and friends for their practical baby gifts! We are so extremely lucky to have had such great people in our lives. We are yet to have to buy a package of diapers on our own (well, I take that back, I think we may have had to buy one pack of newborn size since our lil peanut fit in those for so long...), but not having to buy any diapers for 5 months now? I'd say that's pretty great. We have a whole closet full still left too, up to size 4's, so I think we'll be good for awhile, seeing that we haven't even moved up to 2's yet, but probably will soon. Also, since starting to supplement with formula, we've yet to have to buy any. We've only gone through one container so far, and we still have 3 containers in the cabinet, along with the Similac to-go packs for road trips or going out. Friends at work got free samples of it and don't use it, so they passed it on to us, and our sister-in-law sent a few containers they don't use either, so it's been wonderful. We think of all the money we're saving because of having such great people in our lives, and it makes us very happy... although the money is all just going toward daycare now instead...


One thing I've noticed recently is that over the different phases of our lives, we introduce ourselves to others differently. For example, when you're in elementary school you typically introduce yourself to your classmates by your first name: "Hi, I'm Eric. You want to share your juice box?" Maybe in high school or college you develop a nickname that you go by instead - something less formal: "Hey, I'm Meibs. Want to split a case of beer?" Then as you move into the professional world, you typically go back to the formal naming convention of just your last name: "Hi, I'm Mr. Meibers and I'm here for the grown-up job interview."

Sometimes it's hard getting away from the less-formal nicknames that you've grown accustomed to using and getting called for so many years. You might even catch yourself introducing yourself by the former nickname only to stop mid-word and correct it. Women have it even harder after they get married - assuming they take their husband's last name. They've spent 20+ years going by the same first and last name combination, only to have it change on them. Not to mention writing it on official documents.

Once you've been in the "adult world" for a while, you get used to introducing yourself a certain way. For example, Mommy B and I have been married for almost 3 years now and I've gotten very used to introducing myself to her friends and colleagues like this: "Hi, I'm Eric - Brittany's husband." Even though most of them already know she's married, I always like to cover my bases and to fend off the potential cougars ahead of time.

However, the other day I found myself introducing myself in a way I hadn't experienced yet. I was dropping Alli off at daycare and one of the other dads from Alli's class was dropping of his kid off at the same time. We made a couple small jokes about the kids, and I reached out to shake his hand. And for the first time in my life, I introduced myself like this: "Hey, I'm Eric - Alli's dad."

Woah... I'm someone's dad??

When did that happen? And why did just introducing myself that way make it sound so official? Wasn't her birth enough to make it official? I guess just talking about fatherhood to family and friends doesn't quite drive the point home like it does when talking to strangers. To be honest, I think I might have actually hesitated a fraction of a second while my brain stopped my mouth from following up with "Brittany's husband" and changed it to the appropriate relationship for the situation. This guy doesn't know my wife (hopefully), but he certainly knows my kid who's in the carrier right next to me. Well, that and that she's the cutest kid in the class, of course. Amazing how fast the brain can work sometimes - even when you're not conscience of it.

While it probably didn't register to the guy I had just shaken hands with, it was a moment I won't soon forget. It made me realize that I'm going to be introducing myself that way for a very long time. If Alli turns out to be the social butterfly we all think she's going to be, I could be introducing myself that way a lot.

Of course, I'll still be "Brittany's husband" and "Scarlett's owner" (we'll see how much I admit to that)... but now I have to add "Alli's dad" and eventually "(insert second child's name here)'s dad" to the mix. And I was just getting used to not having to think about it...

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Cuddle bug

On most mornings, Alli will sleep until 6-6:30am before she wakes up and is hungry. On the weekends or days that Mommy B doesn't have to work, we'll usually get up and feed Alli and let the dog out to pee (and feed her as well, of course). Most of the time she'll eat for a bit, get a diaper change and fall back to sleep within an hour. Naturally, that means Mommy B and I can go back to sleep for a little while longer too. On weekdays, this doesn't affect me because I'm out the door to work by the time she goes back to sleep anyway.

Today was a little different. Alli decided that she wanted to wake up around 5:30 or so when Mommy B finished getting dressed for work. This isn't too abnormal for her, and it just means that I have to start my morning routine with her a little earlier. So Mommy B brought her downstairs and fed her while I had breakfast, and around 6 she was acting sleepy again. I figured she could go back to sleep for about 45 minutes until it was time to get up again and head off to daycare.

Well, she wasn't having it. I tried to put her back to bed while I finished getting ready for work, but she didn't feel like it apparently. First, she flipped over to her back - even though I put rolled up towels on either side of her to prevent her from rolling over. And if you recall previous blog posts, Alli doesn't sleep when she's on her back. She started out just babbling and making other noises while I brushed my teeth but it quickly escalated to a full cry. I scrambled to finish getting dressed so I could go pick her up - I'm surprised I have matching socks on today. Of course, the second I picked her up, the crying stopped. The bad news was that I had to put her back down on the changing table so I could get her dressed.

She really didn't like that. The cry she had before turned into a full-fledged scream. I haven't heard her scream like that since she was a little infant - so needless to say I moved as quickly as I could to get her dressed. Add the fact that I now have to disinfect her earrings and "turn" them three times, the princess was none too thrilled. Does everyone recall my blog post about my baseball gloves for hands? Mini-buttons were hard enough... now you expect me to grasp and spin a 5-month-old's earrings? Riiiiiiiight...

I managed to get Alli dressed (even had matching socks on too), earrings cleaned and back into my arms in no time flat. Even though it didn't feel like it while she was screaming at me, I was able to make quick work of the task at hand. Of course, the second I picked her up and held her close to me - the crying ceased. It was like someone had turned off a faucet.

While I was getting her bottles ready for daycare, I noticed Alli was holding on really close to me and being very cuddly. She actually leaned her head in and rested it on my neck/shoulder - when normally she holds her head up and is looking around at things. I could clearly tell that something had made her uncomfortable earlier, and only cuddling close to daddy would make it all better. It actually choked me up a bit as I was getting her things together. It reminded me how much I love this little girl with all my heart... and how good it feels to be able to make her feel better just by holding her close to me. I can only hope that it stays that way forever, even when she's taller than me.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Oh Dr. Phil!

Today, Dr. Phil's show made me cry.

No, not because it was a "changing day in someones life...", and he yelled at people to change or something... but because he had his son Jay, daughter-in-law Erica, and their baby, his granddaughter, Avery, on the show celebrating her first birthday. Hearing the interview of Jay and Erica talk about all the up's and down's of the first year, how fast it flies by, and how much you need to cherish it... I found myself squeezing Alli a little tighter while I was feeding her watching the show. I can't believe almost half a year has gone by already... where has the time gone? Dr. Phil was funny though, saying to his son, "Well you sure didn't think time was flying when she was teething, etc...". I'm sure that will be coming soon for us, and I can't say I'm excited, but in a way, I am. Just to see her reach another milestone will probably bring tears to my eyes, again.

Here's just a quote from Dr. Phil's website about his granddaughter and her 1st birthday...

 "It’s hard to believe an entire year has gone by since that little girl came into this world and just stole my heart. Yeah, and my friends are still shaking their heads and asking what’s happened to me! HA! I admit it, she’s got me wrapped around her finger like never before. I remember Robin telling me when Avery was born, “Honey, you are going to walk around with your heart in your hands.” And, boy, was she right. But it’s not just Avery’s cuteness and blooming personality that gets to me. There is something so moving and captivating about watching her get excited over the littlest of things, like a new stuffed toy or pulling on my mustache! If it sounds like I’m smiling as I write this, it’s because I am. We couldn’t be prouder of the parents Jay and Erica have become; watching them together is like seeing the world again through a brand-new set of eyes."

And, on the show, Erica, who is an identical triplet, had her sisters and their babies on the show as well. They all three had little girls within weeks of one another. Pretty crazy! Jay & Erica also announced that they are 4 months pregnant too! I love it. Maybe we'll get working on that second one soon??

the triplets with their girls...

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Our girly girl...

Grandma C came down to visit for a long weekend, and her first full day here, we decided to go together to get Alli's ears pierced. Oh boy, what an adventure! I don't know who cried more... Alli, me, or Grandma C! We were all in tears, but, after a few minutes, it was like nothing happened. Unfortunately for some reason, Grandma C thought she should video tape it, and re-living the whole ordeal through a video is not a good idea! We showed it to Dad-E when he got home from work (now, just for the record, we had asked him about getting this done in advance, and he had given his blessing! It was not a surprise to him when he got home, we had to agree that we'd take care of these together!), but anyway, we showed him the video and he didn't have quite the reaction that we did. Must've been a "had-to-be-there moment."

She's so happy and smiley now, you wouldn't even know she had them done. Even by the time we'd gotten to the car after having them pierced, she was almost asleep, probably just worn out from the whole experience, similar to after getting her vaccinations. They don't bother her at all, and she doesn't even know they're there. We clean them with her morning diaper change and at bath time, she's great with us doing that as well, could care less. It's been wonderful! The back fell off of one of them the first day while she was in her crib napping, but I was able to find it and slip it back on (a little more snugly!) without her even noticing. We haven't had any other problems like that, thank goodness. I'm glad we got them done now where she won't remember even getting them pierced, because I have a certain niece who's 13 years old and scared to death to get hers done because she doesn't want it to hurt! I had mine done when I was an infant too, a little older than Alli is, but regardless, I don't remember a thing.

5 months old!

Happy 5 months birthday lil girl! So much has changed throughout this last month... I feel like she has grown up absolutely overnight. She is so happy all of the time, laughing, smiling, and so playful. She grabs for everything, and it all usually ends up in her mouth, and she's just in love with her daddy. (He says she acts the same way with everyone else too, but when my mom came this weekend, she could see it too... she just really lights up when he's around!) Alli is still wearing her size 1 diapers, but we could probably get into 2's now too... we have one package of 1's left that we may use up, and then onto the 2's. She can still wear 0-3 month onesies sometimes, but pants & sleepers have all moved up to 3-6 month size for the length. And now that it's dress and shorts season, it'll be okay if she wears some of her "pants" as capri's :o)

She is rolling over ALL the time, belly to back, back to belly... she really gets around. Especially if she sees something she wants, she'll make her way to it somehow.. scooting or rolling, shifting herself around, she finds a way. We have started giving her baby food now too, and as of yet, she hasn't had something she doesn't like. Bananas, applesauce, peaches, green beans, squash and of course, her favorite, sweet potatoes! We've been trying something new every few days, and she's just thrilled by it. The girl can eat, that's for sure!

We're definitely looking forward to the spring and summertime with her... taking her to the beach, out and about in the neighborhood and at the pool, and hanging out with family and friends!

It had to happen sooner or later...

Ladies and gentleman... we have a floater. And I'm not talking about the dead-body-found-in-a-pond-somewhere type of floater - I'm talking about the kind that can only happen to a parent. That's right Followers, Alli finally pooped in the bathtub.

This week/weekend has been a rather eventful one around the ol' homestead. I'm talking multiple-blog-post eventful. We started Alli Ru on real baby food this week, which I think she is finding to be a nice change of pace to her breastmilk and rice cereal. You also may recall that we started integrating some baby formula to supplement her breastmilk as a way to make sure that she is never hungry.

Well, as the parent of any breastfed baby will tell you, the stuff that comes out the other end is nothing compared to the mess that comes out of formula-fed babies. There's just something about the mixture of nutrients in the formula that makes the baby's poop disgusting. Not that any poop is nice in the first place, but formula just makes it worse.

So as you can imagine, we've now added real baby food on top of the little bit of formula we've been giving Alli. And holy crap (pun intended)... what a difference we've seen. I'm not going to go into all the details because no one really wants to hear about that. Let's just say that she went from having blow-outs with a more liquid consistency to having "adult poops" in about 4 days time. I almost feel like I'm changing an adult's diaper instead of my 5-month old's.

Alli has always been very good about not going to the bathroom while she's in her little whale tub. In fact, she's never had a bowel movement while we've been bathing her... even from the day we brought her home. Well this weekend that streak ended. With a vengeance.

On Thursday night, we took her up to have her nightly bath just like always - got her tub filled, jammies out, and stripped her down. We made it through almost the entire bath (thank goodness) before Alli abruptly stopped splashing - which is weird in and of itself. She looked up at both of us with a very concerned, concentrated face. She then grunted rather loudly and started squirming around a bit... and we both knew something was up. That's when we saw it - Alli's first floater.

Up to the surface it came, like a breaching submarine... and immediately bath time was over. Mommy B removed our little poop factory from the tub, which naturally left me with HazMat duties. I was able to clean out the tub and get rid of the "present" Alli had left us with, and the rest of the evening proceeded as normal. Alli apparently enjoyed the experience so much that she repeated this occurrence on Friday night for Grandma C while Mommy B and I were out on a date. (We went to Sam's Club first, then to Santi's for the best margaritas in Chucktown - I know, hot date, right?)

She made it through Saturday night without an "incident"... but now Mommy B and I know that we'll have to keep our eyes peeled for that fun-size Baby Ruth Alli might decide to leave us again. But, I guess it had to happen sooner or later.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Roll Out! Part II

...straight to the BMW classifieds. Like Mommy B mentioned, we live in the perfect place for a convertible too. After some intense searching, test drives and close calls of punching used car salesmen in the face, I found one that I absolutely fell in love with. And here she is:

I found a 2005 BMW 330ci convertible that had everything I wanted in it. Convertible, Navy blue, tan leather interior, low miles, M series wheels, convertible, premium sound system, wood trim package... and did I mention it was a convertible? I traded in the Audi and basically stole the 330ci from the dealer. It did require a loan, but I figured it was a small price to pay for a car I'll drive until the wheels fall off. Which being a BMW, could be a while...

But thanks to smart saving by Mommy B and I over the last 2 years and our little tax-deduction baby (thanks Alli Ru!), we paid off the remaining 3-year balance on the loan earlier this week. I must say, it's a pretty good feeling - not only because of how much interest I'm not going to be paying over the next 3 years (because I'm a cheap bastard), but also to have that debt lifted off our shoulders. Ahhhh, I feel better already!

Now, the car is officially
ours and we can do whatever we want with it. AND we can put that money towards something else instead - like daycare.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Roll out! Part I

After Mommy B's post the other day about paying off my car, I had to follow-up with one myself. Let me start off by saying that I've never been one of those unfortunate souls who had to drive around a beater when they were younger. If there was one thing my parents took pride in, it was the cars they drove. However, I think they had a momentary lapse of judgment the day they came home with the Buick Roadmaster wagon. Let's start from the beginning and see if you'll like me less when I'm finished.

Technically my first "car" in high school was a 1997 Dodge Ram 1500 extended cab pickup truck with a cap on the bed. It was my dad's truck at the time and it was a lease - so I really only drove it for a year or so. It was fun to play around in, but a pickup truck with a V8 in it wasn't really practical for a teenager just going to and from high school and football/track practice.

After the pickup left the scene, my dad decided 2001 was high time for his midlife crisis. (I won't mention how old he was at the time.) He recalled having a convertible sports car when he was younger and remembered how much fun it was. So after shopping around a bit, he came home with this beauty:

Nothing will get your adrenaline pumping quicker than a 2001 Mustang GT convertible. "Zinc Yellow" with all black leather interior. Not to mention a 4.6 litre V8 and dual exhaust pipes coming out the back... it had enough rumble to wake the neighbors. Well, combine 260 horsepower with a 17-year-old's addiction to speed and I'm lucky to be alive today. I'm not going to divulge how fast I got that car, but I managed to get 3 speeding tickets within 6 months. I sure do miss that car...

A couple years older (and much, much wiser) I was in college and my parents "punished" me by selling the Mustang and giving me this instead:

A 1994 BMW 540i sedan. Big punishment, right?? Not hardly... This baby had had a previous owner that apparently drove it to the Moon and back a couple times. By the time my dad gave it to me in 2003, she was sitting at just over 200,000 miles on the original engine, transmission and drive train. She had a V8 under the hood that took 8 quarts of oil and had an engine displacement the size of a Smart Car.

I used to call her The Black Bullet - because we'd fly 100 miles across I-70 to visit Mommy B at school like it was nothing. That car was so heavy (and smooth) that it just ate highway - and made me understand why they call it "The Ultimate Driving Machine". I had that car for about 3 years before we sold her to a guy from Cleveland who restores old luxury cars with over 260,000 miles on it.

Before too long, my dad was car-shuffling again. Noticing a pattern here? He had enjoyed The Black Bullet so much that he decided to get a newer one and bought this nice little gem:

After driving a 2003 BMW 530i sedan for a while, it was time to do some car switching. The Black Bullet was history, and we both needed a car. What to do?? Duh, go buy another one... So Pops gave me the 530i for my 21st birthday and bought himself something else. I drove that car for the remaining year or so of college, and I have to say it was pretty cherry. Of course, that car fit right in at my school and other students would barely even bat an eye.

Along came graduation and Mommy B and I's subsequent migration south. Dear ol' dad gave me the option: I could either keep the BMW (and assume the $300+ monthly payments until it is paid off), at which time I could keep it... OR he would take the BMW back and give me the car he had been driving for free. Being a broke college grad, I opted for the free route. And this is what I got stuck with:

Picking up my sarcasm yet? Basically I got to move south with a 1998 Audi A4 Quattro - that was completely paid off. The only downside to this car was that it was a manual stick shift. Luckily I had learned how to drive one back in high school, so I was willing to suck it up for the time being.

Fast forward 3 years, and the Audi was creeping up in age and miles. Mommy B and I decided it was time to get a newer car, and I knew exactly which direction I was headed...

Monday, March 21, 2011

Oh what a feeling...

I'm not sure how many of you know this, but Dad-E purchased his first car on his own two years ago around his birthday (March-ish). I knew he always did dream big, especially when it came to cars, so I can't say I was surprised when he wanted, and came home with, a 2005 BMW convertible. We do live in the ideal place for a convertible, as it's warm almost all year round, so in that sense, it was practical. However, now with lil Alli Ru in tow, I was worried he'd have to get rid of it because the car seat wouldn't fit. But Mr. "OH-I'll-make-it-fit!" got out his owner's manual and properly, securely, and a little snuggly, got the seat to fit. So, he was in the clear, I let him keep the car. We've really enjoyed having it, and I can just picture lil Alli now, with her long curly blond hair (OK, so I'm thinking WAY in the future, because we all know our little baldy is losing more hair now than growing it in!), anyway, her long hair blowing in the wind, pink sunglasses on, riding with the top down in her daddy's car. Well thanks to Alli's contribution to our tax refund this year (remember, tax deduction baby!), we were able to pay off the car today. The 5 year loan, decreased to 2 years, and knowing it's actually ours... what a wonderful feeling. Kind of like, oh, the feeling of the breeze through long curly blond hair... and for now, til Alli's old enough, those blond hairs are attached to a spoiled golden retriever we happen to love and adore named Scarlett...

You're gonna miss this...

I heard "You're Gonna Miss This" by Trace Adkin's on the radio today. I'd forgotten about this song, but once I heard it again, it brought back so many memories already... here's the main chorus...

You're gonna miss this, you're gonna want this back.
You're gonna wish these days, hadn't gone by so fast.
These are some good times, so take a good look around...
You may not know it now...
But you're gonna miss this.

It's hard to believe that about five months ago today, I was a few days away from the baby's due date, and we were so anxious and ready for the baby to be here! Now, she's more than just "the baby" we'd been waiting for, she's Alli Ru, our smiley, talkative, giggly baby girl. She has grown so much and changed so much already. Everyone always tells you to cherish every moment because they grow up SO fast! I don't think it really registers until you're actually experiencing it yourself...

Remember when she was this little? I know, it's hard for us to remember anymore either!

Flying Solo

Since Mommy B worked yesterday, it was my first all-day attempt at solo parenting. And I must say, I don't know how single parents do it. I take that back, I know how they do it... it just sucks big time. It wasn't that Alli was such a handful that I needed someone else to take over every once in a while, but more so because she can't talk yet which made it lonely! There I was, hanging out with two other living beings (Alli and Scarlett) neither of which I can carry on a conversation with. I felt very lonely without being alone - kinda messes with your mind a little bit.

Overall, the day went very well. She actually woke up around 6am like she usually does on days I have to take her to daycare, so I gave her a bottle and she went back to sleep until 9am. Yaayy for extra sleep for Dad-E! When she finally woke up for the day, I was able to spoon-feed her some Sweet Potatoes - which she appears to love! Just the thought of eating sweet potatoes myself makes me want to barf, but I'm sure she's enjoying finally getting to taste something other than Mommy B's liquid gold.

She was actually ready for her morning nap by 10am or so... and slept until 12:30pm! It was fantastic! I was actually able to shower and get a few things done that I wanted to get accomplished before Grandma C comes to visit this week. Then I had a thought... since Mommy B has brought Alli to visit me at work on multiple occasions, I decided this would be the perfect time to bring her to the hospital to visit her mommy at work.

My thought process was that this would actually kill two birds with one stone - show off Alli Ru to all of Mommy B's friends at work and entertain Alli for a couple hours without having to dangle toys in front of her face like at home. By the time we drove downtown, made the rounds in the hospital and drove home, she'd be ready for another nap... right? Bingo - she fell asleep in the car before I even hit the highway on the way home. She woke up when we got home, but got a little power nap in on the ride - just long enough for Dad-E to drop $55 to fill up the gas tank. And I don't even drive an SUV. UGH.

We spent the rest of the afternoon hanging out and eating (well, she ate at least). She took a brief "afternoon" nap around 5pm, but we were back on the evening routine after that. She was even awake just long enough to see Mommy B come home before I put her in bed. The good news is - whatever I did during the day worked... because she slept all night! Not that she's had trouble with sleeping through the night lately, just that I wanted to make sure I tuckered her out enough during the day that she would actually need a full night's sleep. I was worried throughout the day that I was entertaining enough to make her tired later. Let's be honest, Dad-E alone doesn't really compare to the sights, sounds and interactions she has in 9ish hours of daycare.

All in all, my first solo day of parenting was a success. Nobody got hurt, everyone got fed (even the dog) and the house didn't burn down. Whew! I know there will be times in the future where I might have to watch Alli by myself, but she'll be older by then and hopefully able to entertain herself. Not that I just want to plop her in the sandbox and go wash the car, but there are only so many activities you can do with an infant who can't walk (or even crawl yet for that matter), talk, fully grasp things or sit up on her own for an extended period of time. Besides, we don't have a sandbox anyway.

All that being said, mad props to Mommy B who is "home alone" with Alli 2-3 days a week. She really enjoys spending the extra time with Alli when she's not at work, which I'm sure will just make their mother-daughter bond even stronger as the years go by. I just know how close she is with her mom and I can only hope that Alli has that with Mommy B eventually. Speaking of, Grandma C is on her way down Wednesday - should be a fun end to the week!

Friday, March 18, 2011

From on a roll to rolling over...

Well, here it is... Friday night at 9PM, and our little princess is upstairs. I know you're thinking, aww wow, she's asleep and you guys are still on a roll with this sleep thing... right? Wrong! Unfortunately, since Alli has discovered she can roll over so easily, she is doing it all the time. As in, as soon as we lay her down to sleep, she flips right over, then cries and cries because she can't sleep like that. The first few times she did it, we went up to flip her back on her belly in hopes she would fall asleep. After the third time of going up there to do it, we both realized that she is thinking this is a game! We would go up there and as soon as her eyes would catch ours, she would break out in a huge smile and start giggling. What!!?? You went from crying to giggling as soon as you see us? And how are you not tired, it's almost 2 hours past your bedtime now!

This picture is of Alli earlier today when she was rolling over and laughing about it afterwards... which was fine and fun then, but not at bedtime little girl!!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Teacher's Pet

On Tuesday, I had to take Alli to daycare in the morning for a little while when I went to go interview for the home health nursing position I'll be doing part time. She was only there for about 4 or 5 hours, and when I got there, she was still napping so I chatted with one of her teachers, Mrs. Norma, for a little while. We talked about how Alli's day had gone (mainly sleeping!), and talked about how to introduce cereal and baby foods while she's at daycare.

She then mentioned that Alli got to spend some time outside that day, and I thought, aww that's great, they take the kiddos outside! So I asked her how they got all 6 or 7 kids out there, and she said, "Oh no, Miss Raisin came to get her!" (OK, I'm unsure if this is really the teacher's name, but I asked Eric to find out yesterday while he was there, and he came home saying Miss Raisin too, so I don't know if that's a nickname this teacher has, if her name is really Raisin, or what...) Anyway, I proceeded to ask who Miss Raisin was and what she meant by this lady coming to get her?! She said, "Ohhh my goodness, Alli is Miss Raisin's favorite!! She comes and takes Alli all the time, especially during her lunch breaks. She takes her outside with her, plays with her, etc...!" What!? She's a teacher's pet already and she can't even talk?! Wow! Mrs. Norma said Miss Raisin is the 1-2 yr old classroom's teacher, so, she'll be in her class coming up here soon. It's good to know she's already a favorite, that will hopefully mean she'll get her bottles and food first. Because we all know that as long as the little Meibers is fed, she's a happy girl.

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Good afternoon Followers. Here we are, exactly six days after my birthday and smack-dab in the middle of good ol' St. Patty's Day. Let me start off by saying that I am part Irish - exactly how much Irish is a mystery to me. All I know is that my father's mom's side of the family was predominantly Irish, but the exact percentages were lost along the years. Long story short, this holiday hits home for me on a certain level. Not the level of abandoning my fatherly duties this evening to chug green beer until I start talking like I'm from Ireland and starting fist fights in the alley behind Tommy Condon's... but you get the idea.

St. Patrick's Day is celebrated on the feast day of Saint Patrick each year. While some stories differ in their details, the story basically goes like this: Patrick was born in Roman Britain in the 4th century and at age 16 he was kidnapped by Irish raiders and taken captive to Ireland as a slave. He was later told by God in a dream to flee from captivity and return to Britain. He did, and upon returning he quickly joined the Church in Auxerre in Gaul and studied to be a priest. In 432, he returned to Ireland as a bishop to "Christianise" the Irish from their native polytheism. Irish folklore tells that one of his teaching methods included using the shamrock to explain the Christian doctrine of the Holy Trinity to the Irish people.

I'm all for celebrating history (not religious history so much), but I think people take things way out of context these days. I understand the whole "wearing green" tradition - since it reflects the color of the shamrock that was such an instrumental tool in Saint Patrick's teachings. I wore a lime green button-down today to sport a little pride, and Mommy B picked out a nice green outfit for Alli to wear to daycare also.

But some people go way overboard. I was walking through the Blackbaud cafeteria today and saw a gentleman wearing a kilt. He didn't have the sash and beret-type-thingy, but he had the knee-high socks and everything. Easy there killer, no need to proclaim your heritage any louder than your red hair and fair skin already do.

Also, I do not feel the need to drink green beer. Nor do I feel it necessary to make today the one day a year I drink Guinness to make myself feel more Irish. I think others should do the same - especially if they are of the clan that typically drinks beers that come with fruit in them. What's worse is that people think just because we Irish can handle our booze that they can too. It's the second-worst night of the year to go out drinking, after New Year's. Amateur Hour, the sequel. Here's a hot tip for ya, the cops are going to be everywhere. Man up - take a cab, pound a good, strong ale and call it a night. Nobody needs or wants you stumbling past their apartment complex/house at 3am pretending to be Sean Connery. Some people have to work tomorrow.

I do enjoy the festivities that usually come along with St. Patty's Day - the festivals, parades and the like. As a kid, my siblings and I used to walk in the annual St. Patrick's Day parade in downtown Cincinnati. It was kind of cool having everyone celebrate your heritage that way, even if it is just partial heritage. Hopefully we can get Alli involved in something like that when she gets a little older.

And don't make St. Patty's Day more of a cliche holiday than it has already become. Stay out of trouble - don't drink and drive, don't pick fights with strangers because you think you have (green) beer muscles, and please dear lord don't post pictures on Facebook tomorrow of you wearing big shamrock sunglasses while chugging your once-a-year Irish Car Bomb. Let's keep it classy folks. Have fun tonight kids.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Cartoon of the Week

How fitting! Long gone are the days when I could just grab my purse and leave the house to run an errand. Now, it's getting the diaper bag, getting bottles prepared and packed, make sure we've got enough diapers/wipes, change of clothes in case she ruins the outfit she has on, sunglasses/sunhat (hey, it's a rough life living in the sunny south when you always need protection for lil Ru's eyes!), and oh, my purse too. Which usually becomes me taking my wallet out and shoving it in the diaper bag too, forget anything else I used to care about in my purse. Now, as long as I've got all the "essentials", we're set. I think when we went to Florida for the long weekend, Alli had like two bags of stuff and we had a tiny suitcase for us. Gone are the days I'd pack 4 pairs of shoes "just in case" I wanted to wear certain ones with certain outfits. Now, Alli has 5 headbands, 20 outfits, a whole new package of diapers... all for a 3 day trip. Needless to say, I'm terrified to think of how we'll pack everything for our week long trip to Ohio... hopefully we don't forget Ru, like it looks like this lady did in the cartoon above...

Holdin' my own

I'm sure everyone has heard the expression "holding my own" at some point in their lives. People use this phrase in a variety of situations and in many different contexts. But has anyone actually told you what it really means? I don't believe anyone has ever truly defined the phrase for me. Over the years, I've just inferred its meaning by the context in which people used it.

I actually looked up the phrase to see if I could find its origin and true definition. Many people have their own ideas about where the phrase first started. One person claimed that it originated from sailing ships where a weak or inadequate person would not be allowed to hold a rope unassisted. If they were qualified, they could "hold their own" rope. Others say that it means "to stand your own ground, to not let life, or anyone else for that matter, push you around." As per the Oxford English Dictionary: "to maintain one's position against a competitor or an opposing force of any kind; to stand one's ground." While I'm still not sure the actual origin, I like the "opposing force" definition. The good ol' Oxford folks did me proud.

Lately, this phrase has taken on a more literal definition for me. Alli has recently started to hold her own bottle! She's been able to hold it up with some assistance for almost a month now, but just recently she's been going at it completely solo. She still hasn't grasped the concept that the bottle has to be turned upside down in order for anything to come out, but she definitely has the strength (and now the coordination) to hold it up on her own when she's eating. She now recognizes the bottle when we hold it close to her; and she leans towards it to grab it with both hands.

It's very cute seeing her hold it all by herself now, but it makes me sad at the same time because it just shows how fast she's growing up. It seems like just last week she was up all night, barely able to do anything on her own. Now she's sleeping a solid 9-10 hours a night, rolls all the way over whenever she feels like it and can hold her own bottle for almost the entire meal!

So I guess in her case, the "opposing force" is really just gravity... but I think it's safe to say that Alli truly is holding her own.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

No NFL this season??

When Mommy B first gave me the keys to the car and said I could technically post about anything I wanted (not just Alli), I didn't really know what to do with myself at first. There are just so many topics that have the potential to be good blog fodder... but would I be able to tap my inner Shakespeare and compose award-winning prose for the pure entertainment value of the masses? Let's face it, I could write a decent term paper back in college - but I was an Economics major, not an English major (or heaven help me, a Comm major). My apologies to all the Comm majors who may be reading this and making grammatical critiques. But I digress. On to a topic that will most definitely affect our family come this fall... FOOTBALL.

This past week, labor "talks" between the NFL Players Association and NFL club owners broke down and things have taken a turn for the worse. For those of you who don't follow the NFL (or don't care enough to follow it) - I'll try to dumb it down for you. Basically, after the 2010 season the contractual bargaining agreement (CBA) that the Player's union and Owners agreed to a few years back expired - which means that both side now have to renegotiate a new CBA before another season can be played. In other words, they have to decide who is going to get paid what for the next few seasons.

Only problem is - both sides want a bigger piece of the proverbial pie. Owners wanted a longer season, less benefits to retired players, less pay to current players, and a direct vacuum attachment straight to your wallet when you sit in their stadium seats. The Players want to keep the season the way it is, more benefits to retired/veteran players, and a salary cap for rookies. There are more moving parts than what I just listed, but you get the idea.

Since a new CBA has not been agreed upon by last week's deadline, the Owners are forced to "lockout" the players - meaning that coaches cannot engage in trade talks, players cannot contact coaches nor can they even enter the team's facility. Big mess. Naturally, the players are trying to fight back through our oh-so-expedient justice system. In other words, we might have the NFL back by 2020.

Even though I'm a mandatory fan for one of the most disenchanted franchises in the history of the NFL (the Cincinnati Bengals), I never thought I would hear myself utter the following phrase: I'm actually hoping there is no 2011 NFL season. And here are my reasons why:

1. Being a former football player myself, I cannot help but side with the Players on the issue of not expanding the regular season. If the Owners got their way, the regular season would be 18 games long with 2 preseason games. Let's do some quick math: 19-20 weeks of regular season games (18+1 or 2 Bye weeks) + 2 weeks of preseason games + 2 weeks of "camp" = about 24 weeks of full contact football. I could barely make it through 13 weeks of Division III college football - I can't imagine almost half a year of professional athletes spearheading each other at full speed. Dear NFL Owners, the human body wasn't made for that kind of contact. Love, your fans who don't want to see the towel boy have to suit up because you're fresh out of running backs by week 17.

2. All the other points are really white noise compared to the larger issue: billionaires fighting with millionaires over money does not concern those of us who do not financially benefit from the situation. No matter how you spin it, it becomes an offensive, revolting game of chicken that bears no resemblance to anything most of the rest of us would consider to be real. My hope is that there is no NFL this season... and because of that, some very, very rich people whose richness is all but guaranteed by the monopolistic business they're fortunate to be a part of take it squarely in the front of their boxer shorts. **Ahem, paging Mr. Brown... Mr. Mike Brown to the front desk please.**

3. Just about everyone involved in America's favorite sport is getting paid plenty to do so. I know that the players are risking life and limb each day they put on a helmet, but so did I at one point - for free. I played 7 years of high school and college football on a completely irrelevant level to anyone outside the stadium. And I did it all for my love of the game. So excuse me, Mr.-Millionaire-Rookie-who-just-signed-a-contract-for-more-money-than-I'll-probably-see-in-10-lifetimes, no I don't feel bad that you didn't think enough ahead to put away some money for your health care and other basic needs once your football career is over. What's that? You might have to sell one of your houses and a couple of your cars? Hang on, let me unpack my violin case. It might take a minute, it's rather small and I have kinda big hands.

As much as I'm going to miss NFL football this season, it couldn't have come at a better time. Since Alli will be old enough to walk by then, I plan on spending my Sunday afternoons this fall being much more productive (and happier) than I was watching the Bengals "play football" last fall. Well would ya look at that... I was able to relate this whole situation back to Alli eventually. I knew I could do it. Perhaps no NFL this season will be a blessing in disguise after all.

Spring forward...

With daylight savings/time change occurring this weekend, I definitely thought Alli's sleep schedule would be screwed up... but thank goodness, it really didn't effect her much! She is still consistently (for over 2 weeks now I think?!), sleeping from 730pm to 530am, sometimes a little later... but it really does work perfect for our schedule when we both have to get up and get to work. This morning, I had an interview and was offered a position with PSA Healthcare, which is a home health company specializing in pediatric care. In addition to my other new job as a Meduflex nurse, I will part-time/occasionally be going to the homes of special needs/disabled children and helping them do every day care, or maybe just watch them while their families go run errands, go to the grocery, go to work... I'm really excited about it! Some of the children may actually be patients I've previously taken care of in the hospital setting, so it will be a great new opportunity to see the kids in their home setting. Fun new things for me, I'm very anxious to get started with it all!

On the topic of "springing forward" and the fact that it's supposed to be in the 80's this weekend... I'm getting so excited for spring and summer to arrive... and all that we have to look forward to! Alli has started to roll over a lot more (and not just secretively, we actually see her do it now... ha!), and she's tripod sitting (kind of holding herself up with one arm), but sitting none-the-less! She is still talking and babbling ALL the time too, and so smiley! It's heart melting when you go to pick her up from a nap, or from daycare, and she catches a glimpse of you, and a huge gummy grin comes across her face. I love it. I know that this summer, we'll have the fun of taking her to the ocean, playing in the water, crawling, etc etc etc... it's going to be so exciting!

There are many visitors and trips we're looking forward to too! My mom will be here next weekend for a long weekend, we're making a trip home to Ohio from Memorial Day weekend through June 4 & 5th, mom will be coming back to visit in the beginning of July, then in mid July, Eric's older brother, his wife Kristi, and their baby Max, along with Eric's parents, will all be coming down to Charleston for a week! It's the first time we'll get to meet Max, and getting to see him and Alli together will be great! And, we can't forget that any day now lil Squishy Koehler will be arriving into the world, and I'm sure we'll have many trips/long weekends with him/her and his/her family as well. This spring is definitely arriving quickly, and we couldn't be more excited! Bring on the sunshine!

*July 2007, days after we got engaged... pictures this spring and summer will probably all be of Alli :o)

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Birthday Weekend

Well, what a great birthday it was! This past Friday was my 27th celebration of coming kicking and screaming into this world. The last time my birthday was on a Friday, it was my 21st and it marked the beginning of Spring Break back in college. Back then, my idea of a great birthday was bar-hoping with Mommy B and some of my friends from Denison in downtown Cincinnati. And once again... my oh my how times have changed.

Since my birthday fell on a weekday this year, naturally I was at work. If you know me, you'll know that I'm not one to go broadcasting the fact that it's my birthday to everyone I see the whole week (or month) beforehand. You people know who you are... But Mommy B decided that she would bring Alli to visit me at work and broadcast it that way. We paraded the lil Ru around just about every floor of Blackbaud to visit all my former coworkers and current teammates. Then we went out to lunch together as a family. Nothing fancy, but it was great to spend time with both of them on my birthday.

That was when Mommy B told me that she had made dinner reservations for just the two of us that evening. Say what?! She not only found a babysitter for a Friday night, but one that she actually trusted enough to hand over our little angel for a couple hours! Turns out, her good friend from work was nice enough to take a couple hours out of her night off to watch Alli for us.

So I came home from work, and we immediately hopped back in the car and dropped Alli off. We then headed downtown - and I was getting excited. Our mystery destination? None other than High Cotton! We've only been there once before, and it was over three years ago when we got engaged. We walked in, gave them our name, and they led us to the little corner table facing the quaint streets of downtown Charleston. On the table was a card awaiting our arrival that read "Happy birthday Mr. Meibers - from the management and staff of High Cotton" I thought that was rather nice of them, considering how much I knew we were about to spend for dinner...

I'm not going to go into every single detail about the meal, but there were a couple interesting moments. The food was fantastic, of course - I would expect nothing less from one of the most upscale restaurants in all of Charleston. For those of you who have never been to High Cotton - this is the type of place that refolds your napkin into a random animal when you get up to go to the bathroom. Kind of a big deal.

But five minutes after we sat down, we heard a familiar noise emanate from the opposite corner of the dinning room... and I'll bet that everyone who reads this blog can guess what that noise was. What's one of the most disruptive, annoying, mood-killing sounds in the world? That's right, a baby's cry. The second the baby across the room opened its mouth, Mommy B and I's ears perked up like a pack of coyotes listening for prey.

Of course, we both just looked at each other and laughed. Probably out loud. We had just gone through all this trouble to get a babysitter for our own little one so we could enjoy a peaceful, baby-free night out together... and some Yankee tourist decided to bring their little rug rat to a five-star establishment. It was almost the last place on Earth I would expect to see a baby... other than perhaps a brothel. Thanks a lot, ya jackwagon.

Luckily, the kiddo didn't make much noise the rest of the evening, and we really enjoyed the entire experience. They were even nice enough to give me a free dessert with a candle in it. Of course, getting a free dessert on a bill from High Cotton is like having them comp the CD player after just buying a Bentley. Gee thanks, you're oh-so-generous. Sorry, that's my cheap side talking.

Nonetheless, it was just the perfect evening out that Mommy B and I needed. We picked up the lil Ru on our way home and called it a night. The weather was gorgeous all weekend too, which just made it an even better birthday. Sunday almost hit 80 degrees - just the right weather to go for a boat ride... which is why I did yard work instead.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Horray for girls!

OK, so for those of you who don't know... we didn't find out that Alli was a girl until the day she was born. We thought we'd wait until she was born for the excitement and the thrill of it all! There are so few surprises in life, and we wanted our first child to be one of those surprises. We had so many people who wanted to make their gender pick... at our couples shower, at my work, at Dad-E's work, it was crazy! My patients, families and co-workers on 7East had all said, it's totally a boy! The way you're carrying, the way you haven't gained any weight except in your belly, it's a boy for sure! They took polls at work about the baby being a boy... and at our shower, we had everyone guess on an index card what they thought the gender would be... and we had an overwhelming majority of boy. We also had heard that your dreams tell you a lot about what you are having... and Dad-E and I both had boy dreams. So, obviously, we both were kind of thinking boy... and oh boy, were we wrong!

When Alli Ru came out and became Allison Ruah Meibers... needless to say, we were sort of shocked!! A super happy, totally in love with the baby girl shocked.. but shocked none the less. I've just recently come to realize how much I absolutely LOVE having my baby be a baby girl. Not only is she starting to look like me a little more every day.. but she's so adorable to dress up!!! Her little toenails were growing out last night and I thought, wow, maybe I should paint them!? I haven't yet, but I totally will soon. And, my mom is coming to visit in a few weeks, and I'm thinking we may go together to get her ears pierced. My mom got mine done when I was about 6 months old, more because I had NO hair and no one could ever tell I was a girl...  but I think it may be a good time for Alli so we can clean them and take care of them, and she won't pull at them and bother them too much yet. We'll see... stay tuned to see if we actually do.  Mom & I have talked about getting Alli Ru's footprint tattooed somewhere too... but I'm thinking I'm a little too chicken to do that.

Anyway, I just wanted to say that all the adorable dresses, sunhats, headbands, bloomers, tights, legwarmers, etc in our closet just has so me so over the moon that we've got a baby girl... she's the love of our life right now, and we couldn't be happier.

OH and I found this website, and I'm in love... (there are WAY too many adorable girl clothes/outfits websites, but this one, I fell in love with.) So anyone that wants to get us some of these cute RuffleButts, we'd appreciate it! Haha!


Friday, March 11, 2011

He's finally my age again...

Happy birthday to Dad-E today... who's finally 27, like me! :o) I am dreading the day that I turn the big 3-0 and Eric will still get to be 29 for 2 and 1/2 months until his birthday comes around... I'm sure I'll hear it from him all the time how OLD I am.

Once Alli gets up from her nap, we're planning on going to visit Dad-E at work and take him out to lunch. Probably nothing fancy, but at least we'll get to spend time with him! Then, Alli Ru is going to hang out with our friend Melissa tonight while I take Dad-E out for a surprise dinner! He has no idea where we're going, but with so many great resturaunts in Charleston, I'm sure he won't be disappointed.

Just wanted to say, "Happy Birthday and I Love You!" to my best friend, the sweetest husband, and the most adoring father! Watching you with Alli every day has made me fall even more in love. (OK enough mushy stuff, I'm sure he'll update later on how his day turned out... and hopefully, it's a great one!)

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Frankly, my dear...

 I'm disappointed!!

I just finished reading Gone With The Wind... (yes, I know, shocking that I've never read it or seen the movie!) It was definitely a great book to read on my e-reader to keep me occupied... all 1,030 pages it! But I have to say, I'm disappointed with the ending!! What kind of ending is that? I thought it'd be a better love story, but of course, I won't discuss it further just in case there are others like me that have never read or seen it. We have the movie too, so I'll have to watch that now and see what I think. Just wanted to complain that I was not thrilled with the way things end, for as much as I was into the rest of the book! Now, what should I read next??

Oh, and here's our darling little girl... look at those huge blue eyes! She's going to be a heart breaker for sure! Just like Scarlett O'Hara... so many beau's, so little time...

Uping the ante

It seems like every couple weeks or so I catch myself posting about how Alli is eating more than she used to. Well, this post is going to continue that theme. I'm not sure if it's another growth spurt or just the fact that 4 month olds eat a lot - but Alli has dramatically increased her intake lately.

It seemed like just a couple weeks ago we were sending her off to daycare with 4 bottles each with 4oz of breastmilk - now she's killing 5oz in each bottle like it's nothing. True Followers may recall that we recently started adding rice cereal in a couple of her bottles each day to help out as well. Well, she's been tearing through it like it's not even there. I guess it's a good problem to have - the only problem is that we're out of stocked breastmilk.

So yesterday we began supplementing her feedings with baby formula - and it went very well. I don't know if she could really tell a difference, because she sure didn't act like it. I was initially thinking we would mix some formula in with the breastmilk to ease her into it - but Mommy B had other plans while she was home with Ru. She just mixed it up and gave it to her straight - no breastmilk, no rice, no muss, no fuss. And guess what? Alli drained the whole bottle. I guess she is a lot like her father already... surprise, surprise.

Mommy B has been pumping enough to supply Alli with enough breastmilk to last her through daycare, so we decided that I would feed her formula in the morning and at night - just to make it easy on everyone. However, this morning was a little different...

Alli woke up at 6am this morning (a little earlier than usual) so I fed her a formula bottle to get things started off. Keep in mind the last time she ate was 7:30pm the night before. She only had about 3oz of the 4oz bottle, which is not too unusual for first thing in the morning. I just assumed it was because it was a little early and she would finish the rest of it off before we left for daycare.

So I got dressed and ready to go, and right as we were getting ready to leave Alli started crying like she was hungry. I warmed up the remaining ounce of formula and gave it to her... but apparently that wasn't enough. As soon as she realized that the bottle was empty, she started screaming at me like I was shoving bamboo between her fingernails. The only thing I could think was wrong was that she was still hungry. So I reached into the fridge and pulled out a 3oz bottle of breastmilk that Mommy B had left us for the day. I dumped in some rice and warmed it up as fast as I could.

Less than 5 minutes later, that was gone too. Unreal. Just over 7 oz (some formula, and with rice cereal) in less than an hour! Are you kidding me?? Forget this liquid food, I'm just going to grind up some Cheerios and feed it to her. Or maybe a Fullbar. Anything to keep her belly full. Because once again, if she's anything like her father (which I think we're concluding she is) - she will not be a happy camper if her tummy isn't full.

So we'll see what tonight brings... I could be going through some major formula until Mommy B gets home from work. Who knows? She could be eating prime rib by that time. It wouldn't surprise me all that much these days. I'll be sure to cook it medium-well so she doesn't catch any foodborn illnesses. Personally I think Alli's just tired of everyone calling her "little" - so she's trying to pack on some lbs. Good for her... don't take their crap, eat what you want. That's what Dad-E's been doing for years!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Cartoon of the Week

We have some parents on our pediatric floor that are still breastfeeding their children... and I'm talking about 2 and 3 year olds! Personally, I think if they can ask for it, it's probably time to stop. However, everyone is entitled to their personal opinions, and it's great if you feel like you can breastfeed for that long, but not me! My goal was to exclusively breastfeed for the first six months... and we may have to be giving that goal up here soon. At first, I was disappointed and kind of felt like I was a failure, but I'm coming to grips with it now. In NO way would I ever want Alli to not get enough food just because of my pride! She is starting to really pick up on her intake, which is great! It means a growing girl, and with the rice cereal added and other baby foods added here soon, we couldn't be happier! But, it also means that I am having a hard time keeping up with her demands. She takes about 30 oz of milk a day, and I'm making about 25... so needless to say, our freezer stock has decreased significantly, and today, I'm going to go buy some formula to start supplementing a few feeds a day. I definitely don't want to stop altogether, I know that any bit of breastmilk is better than none, so we're going to try to do as much breastmilk as we can, then supplement with the formula when we need to. I just hope she takes the formula okay, and isn't partial to her "mommy milk" she's been getting since birth! If she's anything like Dad-E, "food's food" and she'll be just fine. :o)

Monday, March 7, 2011

Stay at home mommy (for the day...)

OK, I know that for the most part, I have NOTHING to complain about related to my work schedule. Many working mom's across the country would die to only work three days a week, and get to spend four days with their baby, but I'm still going to gripe just a little bit. =)

I may only work three days a week, but they're three 12-hr shifts... which really, are about 14-hr shifts. I leave the house around 6AM, because at MUSC, you can't just drive straight to the hospital and get out of your car and walk into work... that would be too easy! I have to drive to a sketchy gravel parking lot, get on a bus, which resembles a prison bus since no one talks to each other and it's a silent ride at 6:20 in the morning, and take a 10 minute ride to the hospital, then get out and up to my unit, and still have time to write down all 4 of my patients information by 7AM. I work a 12 and 1/2 hr shift until 7:30 PM, only getting a half hour lunch break, which is never usually a break either. I mean, my nursing phone rings at least 2 times on average during those 30 minutes... someone needs pain medicine, or repositioned, or someone just vomited, oh the joys of nursing, all while you're trying to shove food in your face quickly and get back at it. Then after I've reported off to the night shift nurse, it's back to the bus ride to the parking lot, and on my way home. So, usually I'm pulling in the garage around 8PM, Alli's already asleep, and Mr. Mom is finishing up dinner for us. So needless to say, if I work a couple days in a row, I could go days without even seeing Alli awake, since she doesn't wake up for a feeding in the middle of the night anymore.

This morning, I got the phone call every nurse loves... low census, would you like the day off? Why yes, that would be wonderful! After the fun-filled trip to Charlotte this weekend, I was excited to just have a relaxing day with Alli Ru, and we'll only have to take her to daycare twice this week. All morning we've had so much fun, playing, laughing, talking.. it just made me realize how much I LOVE her. I know this is an obvious one, but I think I grow more and more in love with her each day. I love watching her grow, watching her learn new things, and just LOVE hearing her laugh. It made me realize that what I'd love more than anything is to be able to be a stay at home mom. I know financially we just couldn't do it, which makes me sad, but every girl can dream. If I could stay home and have all my time with her, plan play dates, go to Gymboree, etc etc... I'd be thrilled. I especially can't wait until we have more baby(s??) someday... then I'd reallllly love being a stay at home mom. Come ON lottery, let's win a whole bunch of money so Mommy B can do what she never realized she'd absolutely love to do... stay at home and have and raise babies :o)

Back from Charlotte

It's good to be back in the saddle again, Followers. Even though I left you with a hefty double-dose on Friday, I'm sure you're all anxious to hear about our expedition to the snowy North. Just kidding, we didn't go that far north. True to my family's name, we packed up the front-wheel drive Nissan tighter than a clown car and headed to Charlotte, NC for a baby shower. And what a trip it was..
We arrived in Charlotte on Saturday afternoon around 1pm to find partly cloudy skies and gas prices that were 15-20 cents higher per gallon than down south. The Koehler's (it's pronounced Kay-ler, not Kohler - "They're not the Toilets" as their blog proudly proclaims) were kind enough to let us bring Alli "I'll melt your heart with my blue eyes" and Scarlett "I have just met you, and I LOVE you!" into their new house all while preparing for their own little one to arrive. Since they didn't find out the gender, they're calling him/her Squishy for now until he/she is born. Momma G "Raaabert!", Papa Rob "It drank perdy good, don't it?" and Wallace "Give me your leftovers or the baby gets it" also let us break in their brand new nursery as they count down the last 35 days until their kiddo arrives. We were even able to get a Chipotle fix in for lunch before the evening's festivities began.
We had a blast at the baby shower that evening. We met all of their friends and got to introduce them to Alli. I felt bad that Little Miss Blue Eyes stole some of Momma G's spotlight when we first arrived - because nothing will make a group of women gush more than an infant next to a pregnant woman. Luckily, Alli was tuckered out from the driving and attention, so we put her to sleep in a back bedroom. She slept for over 2 and a half hours - even with people making noise and music right down the hallway. Basically missed the entire shower. I'm not really complaining, it let Mommy B have some wine and let loose a little bit!
We played a few fun baby shower games throughout the evening - one of which I won due to my ingenuity and sense of humor. All the men had to hold a pillow in one arm (to simulate a baby), talk on a cell phone and see how many clothes we could hang on a clothesline in 3 minutes. Pretty challenging, right? Well being the smart-ass that I am, the second they said "Go!" I tossed the pillow into Alli's carrier and began hanging clothes with two free hands. Yeah, this ain't my first rodeo kids - I'm the one that showed up with a 4-month-old, remember? After a few rounds of this game, you could tell very easily who was a parent and who wasn't. It was quite entertaining to say the least.
After opening their gifts, we packed things up and headed back home to let the dogs out and put Alli to bed for the night. Naturally, it wouldn't have been a real family trip unless Scarlett did something crazy. The second we opened the front door, she bolted between our legs like an escaped convict. Down the driveway and down the street she went, at a full sprint. Serves me right for taking her running all those times as a puppy... Thank God she was more interested in sniffing Wallace's butt than paying the entire neighborhood a visit, and she turned around and came running right back in as fast as she had left. I swear, sometimes she's more work than the child.
Alli got to break in the new crib and Sleep Sheep that Momma G and Papa Rob have ready for Squishy. She slept very well (I think we're on a roll!) for being in a "strange" place. We tried to make her feel at home as much as possible - we brought the blanket she usually sleeps on, the blanket she usually gets covered with and turned on the same noise on the Sleep Sheep. I'm not even sure she knew the difference! I think this may have given Momma G and Papa Rob the false impression that Squishy will sleep so well right off the bat - so we had to remind them that Alli is 4 months old and it took us a while to get to this point. But they're a smart couple and will figure it out.
Sunday rolled around and we headed on home to Chucktown. It rained almost the whole drive back, which was fun for me. The rest of the car is asleep (dog included) and I'm white-knuckling the steering wheel. Awesome. Once we hit Columbia things cleared up and I was pretty excited to get back to the ol' homestead.
We made it home safe and sound and are back into the routine. Mommy B even got a nice present this morning - getting called off of work! So she gets to spend the day home with the Ru - and I get to be jealous. All in all, it was a pretty fun weekend and I'm exited to meet Squishy for the first time. I'm sure we'll be heading back that way soon when he/she decides to make their arrival!

the four (well five, including Squishy!) of us

Gena & Alli Ru dancin in the kitchen!

The Ru & I

Zonked out on the drive home!

Friday, March 4, 2011

Sleeping through the night: Part 2

You're in for a double-dose today, Followers. I wanted to get this story in before the weekend arrived because your favorite scribe will be off road-tripping for the duration. Mommy B and I are packing up the Griswold family truckster and heading to the Queen City of the South - Charlotte, NC. Should be an interesting 3 hour drive with two adults, an infant and a excitable dog. We're meeting up with some loyal Followers who are expecting a little bundle of joy of their own in less than a month and a half. If they've been reading my posts all along, they might be having some last-minute second thoughts about this whole parenting thing... but just like everyone else says, "It's sooo worth it."

Tom Tom, please calculate the fastest route away from Bittertown, thanks. I didn't mean for my last post to sound like I'm a bitter person who is envious of parents who have infants that sleep soundly. Because luckily for me (and Mommy B), we're now one of those lucky parents.

Exactly one week ago today, Mommy B and I decided that it was high time that we let Alli really learn how to self-sooth herself at night. She's been waking up less and less at night anyway, which has been nice. But let's face it, interrupted sleep is interrupted sleep - after once or twice it really doesn't matter how many times you're up after that. So, we decided that last weekend was going to be our cut-off. We agreed that if Alli woke herself up at night, we would let her cry it out and put herself back to sleep. All the books said that by 4 months old, your infant doesn't really need to wake up at night for anything... they are just used to it. So by not going in and picking them up, you let them cry it out just long enough to realize that they are OK and they will go back to sleep.

Truth be told, I was a little skeptical of the idea. Not because I thought it was a dumb idea, but because if my daughter is anything like her father, she's hungry all the time. But, we agreed that as difficult as it was probably going to be, we'd stick to our guns. So Mommy B put in her ear plugs and went to sleep and left me to fend for myself. The first night was a little tough... not because Alli woke up a lot, but because your natural instinct as a parent is to run to your child's aid when they cry. So I bit my lip each time I heard a whimper come from the nursery, and reminded myself that it was all for the best.

And call me a monkey's uncle - but it worked! Each night Alli woke up fewer times and cried less each time. By last night, she slept all the way through from 7:30pm until 6:30am this morning. I actually had to wake her up so I could feed her and get her off to daycare. It felt so strange when I got up this morning (at 5am with Mommy B), I think I've actually forgotten what a full night's sleep feels like.

I'm not popping the champagne just yet, I'm going to wait until it happens on a regular basis before I start celebrating. But I think sleeping for 11 hours straight could constitute "sleeping through the night", yeah? Here's hoping that this is just the first of many more sleepful nights to come. That way I can honestly tell people that Alli sleeps through the night.

Sleeping through the night: Part 1

I'm going to try not to rant as much as possible in This Space, but I feel like it's a good time to discuss a certain topic today. The most common theme that is brought up between current parents and soon-to-be or new parents is sleep. For 10 arduous months all I ever heard was how once Alli was born I'd barely get to sleep again. And the sleep that I did get would be in short spurts. And even if I did sneak in a little sleep, I would feel like I've been up all night the next day anyway. And how Mommy B and I would become such "light sleepers" because the instant we'd hear our baby in distress, we'd fly out of bed to tend to her.

Well it got old. Real quick-a-like. I actually got tired of hearing people talk about how tired I was going to be. The fact that they were right is not the reason for my discussion here, it's the fact that everyone talked about it... like losing sleep wasn't an obvious by-product of bringing a new baby into the world. "Gee Mr. Obvious, I didn't realize that a new baby who is hungry every couple of hours would really have that much of an impact on my sleeping pattern. I just thought they came out walking, talking and sleeping 10 hours straight without bothering me." Telling a soon-to-be parent that they better be prepared to lose sleep is like telling a pregnant woman she better be prepared to gain weight. Really? Thanks for the reminder, jack@$$.

Now that we've survived (and I mean that in every sense of the word) the first couple months of irregular sleep patterns, things are really turning the corner. More on that subject in Part 2. Here's my gripe of the week: parents that rave about how well their child slept from Day 1. "Oh I'm sorry to hear you're not getting much sleep... my kid was sleeping through the night by week 3." "My little pooky slept through the night the day we brought him/her home from the hospital." Guess what Followers? They're bold-faced liars. No baby sleeps that well when they are that young.

Here's my real issue: why lie to me about something like that? Do parents who brag and boast about how well their kid slept as a baby think they are making friends by doing that? NOPE. In fact, they're making me want to call them 3-4 times a night for 2 months straight and see if they change their tune. I'm betting they will... jus-a-lil-bit. And just because you ignore your baby (or can't hear them) and don't pick them up each time they make a noise during the night does not qualify as sleeping through the night.

Furthermore, what really constitutes "sleeping through the night" anyway? How long is "the night"? Some people go to bed at 10 and wake up at 6, some people got to bed at 1 and get up at 5, some people go to bed at 8 and wake up at 8. How long does a baby have to sleep for it to be considered "through the night"? Is it 6 hours or 10 hours? Is it 5 hours or 12 hours?

My advice to any soon-to-be parents or new parents out there - any time you hear another parent yammer on about how their baby "sleeps through the night", ask them for some clarification. I'd bet you'd be surprised by their answer. Plus that way you have some ammunition if you ever hear them complain about being tired.

OK, off my soap box for now. I'll be back on it soon I'm sure. On a lighter note, Alli has been sleeping like a champ lately. Come to think of it, she's been sleeping through the night for a while now... tee hee hee. Part 2 coming soon.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

What goes in must come out

Brace yourselves Followers, this could get messy... literally. It's been a long time since Alli had her last real diaper blowout. However, last night she let one loose that will stain my memory (and probably clothes, too) forever.

We just started Alli on rice cereal this week to compliment her already-steady diet of Mommy B's milk, and she's been taking to it like a champ. After her 4-month checkup on Monday, we made our first attempt to spoon feed her some rice cereal mixed in with her usual breastmilk. She definitely recognized the spoon as we brought it towards her, and she looked like a baby bird as we put it in her mouth. Obviously the only "feeding" experience she's had over the last 4 months has been straight from the "tap" or from a bottle, which uses much different muscles than eating from a spoon.

Naturally she kept sticking her tongue out as if she was flicking the bottle, which resulted in plenty of cereal landing on her Denison University bib. But by the end of the "meal" she was definitely getting the hang of things and must have gotten plenty of it down. She slept very well that night - hopefully thanks to her full belly.

Fast forward a couple days and she's been taking loads of rice with her bottle in the morning and at night. I'm not really sure if she even notices it's in there since she eats it so fast, but at least she's getting lots of vitamins with each chug.

Of course, all the extra intake has to go somewhere... and yesterday that happened to be a brand new 3-6 month onesie. Right after I fed her a hefty 4oz bottle, she got her burp in right away and decided that moment was a good time to let 'er rip. To say she filled her diaper is an immense understatement. She overflowed her diaper. Have you ever squeezed a soft banana in your hand? That's kind of what this diaper looked like. The greenish soupy liquid was everywhere. Some down her legs, some up her front, even some halfway up her back. Keep in mind that all of this happened while I was holding her in my arms. Luckily for me she was also wearing a full body zip-up sleeper and it contained the explosion like a fart in a wetsuit. It was one of the most disgusting things I've ever seen/felt/smelled in my life. Needless to say, it was time for an early bath for Miss Alli Ru.

So up to the bathtub we went. We stripped Alli of her onesie as delicately as possible, and I knew that I'd have to bite the bullet and get a little dirty. OK, a lot dirty. Under that diaper she was so coated in the mess that it was beyond wet-wipe repair. And I couldn't put her directly into the tub or we'd be washing her in her own grossness. That's when I decided to hold her by the armpits and drape her under the running water to rinse her off like an apple that was about to be eaten.

I was able to get 98% of it off the munchkin before we proceeded with her typical bath, but I'll never forget watching all that crap go down the drain. I'm not sure if it was solely due to the rice cereal or if she had just been storing it up for a while. I'm just hoping she got some nutrients out of it before it ended up in the Charleston harbor. Either way, it brought me screaming back to reality that life as I knew it will never be the same.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Time for a change...

Many of you know I have worked on the same pediatric unit at MUSC Children's Hospital ever since I graduated from nursing school and moved down here in December of 2006. I've been through the ups and downs, seen the floor go through many changes, even moving to a new unit, and seen many co-workers come and go. It's a 25 bed general med-surg floor, where we take care of just about anything and everything that could happen to 6-18 year olds... from asthma attacks to cystic fibrosis to progeria to broken bones to spinal fusions to pectus repairs to ostomies to trachs to muscular dystrophy... I feel like I've seen so much. However, after four and a half years, I was ready for a change.

Today, I interviewed for, was offered, and accepted the position of a Meduflex RN for MUSC. Basically, I will be a "floating nurse", and will get to work on all the general pediatric floors within the Children's Hospital. So, the infant/toddler unit (which I'll admit, I was never a fan of before I had Alli... but now I LOVE the babies!), the hematology/oncology (cancer) floor, and the cardiac unit. I'm excited for the new experiences, new people, and flexibility this will offer me. The manager of the Meduflex team, who actually happened to be a prior co-worker on 7East, told me I may be able to do newborn nursery, mother/baby, and some other types of units to expand my knowledge and skills as well. I'm so, so excited about this change!!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Cartoon of the Week

This definitely made me laugh... and made me proud of how far we've come. It seems like a distant (but not so distant!) memory of the up-all-night's, the wondering when we'd ever sleep more than 3-4 hrs at a time, the long, tiring days after even longer, exhausting nights... but we've made it! Alli has been on a great streak now for the past few nights of waking up briefly around 3-4 AM, crying just a little, then right back to sleep. She's doing a good 10 hrs a night, then two 2 hr naps and usually an hr nap later in the afternoon as well. We feel like a well-rested baby makes a much happier baby... and MUCH happier parents!

Grilling in February

Top 'o the afternoon to ya, my fellow Followers. I'll have to come up with a catchy nickname for y'all that read this blog... in due time. For now, I'll just refer to the collective group as "Followers" since that's the only option it gives you on the main blog page. Too bad there isn't an option for "life-long, die-hard obsessor of everything Meibers", because I know there are some of you out there. OK, enough narcissism for the day, yeah? Get to the real bloggin', funny man. OK, OK...

During the couple hours between when Alli goes to sleep and when us parentals go to bed is typically when Mommy B does most of her blog writing (and sometimes posting). She asked me last night if I wanted a turn on the ol' keyboard to post something. I pondered the offer for a minute and told her that I didn't really have a funny "Alli update" to talk about. Besides, I don't want to steal all of Mommy B's thunder by writing about the same thing she does.

That's when she presented me with the Golden Ticket to Willy Wonka's Chocolate Factory - she told me that I didn't have to blog about Alli, technically I could write about whatever I wanted. Whatever I wanted?! I guess I never really thought about it like that... but I guess it's true. Who said anything about blogs having rules? I mean come on, who really wants to come here and read about Alli's eat, sleep, poop routine every single day anyway? OK I'm joking again... but let's take the training wheels off this thing and see where it takes us.

As many of you northern Followers are well-aware, yesterday was the last day of February. That means only 6-8 more weeks of cold, gray weather if you live in Ohio. Well, yesterday felt more like May down here. I believe Chucktown reached the low-mid 80's in the afternoon. Poor folks back north are home from work because the snow is now flooding the streets...

Being that I couldn't possibly pass up weather like that, I ducked out of work a little early to cruise around in the Bimmer with the top down. I actually went to get my ears lowered, but you better believe I was rolling topless. God invented convertibles for days like that.

I also couldn't pass up the opportunity to roll out the grill from its "hibernation spot" (a.k.a. the side of the porch) and fire it up. She lit up like a champ and did me proud. So I put a little seasoning on some burgers and tossed them on the flames. Like any football-loving, red-blooded American should do, I had to have a beer while I was grilling. So, I cracked a Diesel to accompany my burgers. That's a Budweiser, to the lame person... (anyone catch my Dumb and Dumber reference?)

There I stood... on my back porch on the last day of February, 80 degrees outside, burgers on the grill, beer in hand, dog digging up moles in my back yard. It was quite a feeling. And yes, Scarlett caught her hundredth mole yesterday. Dug the sucker right up out of the ground and flung it around like a new chew toy.

So to all you Yankees who haven't "figured it out" yet, this Bud's for you. When was the last time you were able to grill outside in February without having to plow the snow off your deck? Or if there wasn't snow, did you only run outside long enough to flip the burgers over and duck back in for fear of frostbite? Come on down and join me next February and I'll show you what I'm talking about... if I'm not out golfing instead.