Tuesday, December 30, 2008

A weighty issue

I probably should have taken guesses on how much Charles would weigh at his 8 week "well baby checkup" (they call it that so that you don't get scared about it also being the "stabbing the baby with 5 needles for immunizations checkup"). But I didn't, so I'm just gonna lay it on you: Charles now weighs 14 pounds, 14 ounces. In case you don't know your ounces and pounds, that's just two ounces away from 15 pounds! My guess is that if he hadn't pooped and peed right before getting weighed, he would have made it.

He is also 24 inches long, and may have to have surgery on his umbilical hernia sooner than 12 months of age because it is quite large. We continue to go without sleep here, but my hope is that it will get better over the coming month. After all, you have to have something to look forward to, right?

Update: Apparently, no doctor will do surgery on an umbilical hernia before the age of 4 unless there is infection or another major problem. So, we're hoping that it goes away on its own!

Monday, December 29, 2008

It's a bit melty...

but, damn, it's exquisite.

Getting home to a melted, mostly snow-free city, that is. If you ever have the chance to take a 6+ hour car ride with an infant, I advise you to pass.
Actually, Charles did quite well, considering that it can't possibly be comfortable to be strapped into a carseat for that long. I think the trip down to Long Beach was tougher, as there were no defined stops to visit relatives, and really, Charlie the ham loves to be held by his admirers. We stopped lots, fed him lots, and have vowed not to take another trip of that magnitude for a couple of months.
We had a wonderful Christmas - I have a feeling next year will be more hectic and more endearing with a toddler, but we were very happy to be able to spend Christmas with both of our immediate families. As it turned out, most of Tony's extended family could not make it over the mountains and through the snow, and my brother opted to stay in Mount Vernon with his girlfriend (who had to work), so we had Christmas morning with both of our parents and the dogs. It was fabulous! I don't enjoy splitting Christmas into two days (I'm a traditionalist, and while I understand that Christmas can happen wherever, whenever, I would much rather a big present-opening party on Christmas morning with all the family at once), so I was thrilled we all got to be together on Christmas morning. We all spent just about every meal together as well, which was great because I got a chance to eat hot food while others took care of Charles. Charles mostly slept through presents on one grandparent's shoulder or another, which was probably the best gift they got this year.

We also made a trip to the frigid beach in the wind and rain to run the dogs, visited our friends Kelli, Rick, and Ruary, as well as Carole, Jarrod, Michael, and new baby Jenna, and spent a lovely evening with the Grub Club for their Christmas event. Good times were had by all. We stopped twice to visit family on the way back to Mount Vernon yesterday, and Charles got to meet his great aunts and uncles, cousins once removed, and even a second cousin! No joke, though, he wound himself up so much in his carseat at one point that he was completely soaked with sweat. He was not happy with having a wet diaper and being stuck! Buster has found all of his toys in the yard again, thanks to the melt, and I am working on getting the house back in order. It's amazing to me, whether it be the birth of a child or Christmas, how fast time sometimes goes and how quickly big events come and go. On to tax season now!
Buster sez, "Ahh, a rare moment with my mom... thank goodness someone decided to take that naked, squirmy puppy away, I hardly ever get loves anymore. Seriously, though, if that thing just grew some fur, I am sure it wouldn't squeal so much."

Charlie sez, "I LOVE Christmas!"

Friday, December 26, 2008

Relapse

Gar! We've got red, seepy butt rash again. Will it never end?

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Happy Christmas

Ours is. We've already received the most wonderful gift this year, but Santa has also been bringing us glorious smiles all day long. We'll try to capture a couple on film. Until then, Merry Christmas!

Also, a hearty congratulations to Carole, who just gave birth to a healthy baby girl, Jenna June! We can't wait to meet her.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Poly-Ticks

Hello America,
Our subject tonight is one you likely know well. Politics. This, of course, comes from the greek "poly", which means many, and "ticks", which are bloodsucking parasites. We recently hired (elected) another group of ticks to hopefully not suck all the "blood" from our wallets.

I wonder how many citizens actually approach their vote as being one to "hire" an official to perform a duty. I see few other ways to view this act. However, there is one logical reason that a citizen would not have this perspective. When you engage the services of someone, whether it be a contractor or an employee, you have to investigate the qualifications of that person and pay for their services. You must satisfy yourself that the task you ask them to perform will be accomplished and that the price you pay is commensurate with the value you receive. This is a principle of a free market and a free people.

How does this explain a citizen's view on an election? Well, if an individual pays no price for one's services, there is no cost to them if they do not fulfill their responsibility. The argument can be made that everyone incurs a cost when public officials do not fulfill their responsibilities and I can't disagree. However, it has been proven time and time again that humans predominantly act in their own self-interest. Therefore, the price most people pay for politician's services is taxes. If one were to pay no taxes, what immediate cost do they bear for electing one person over another? None.

Some of you may be surprised (hopefully not) to learn that approximately 40% of Americans pay no income tax at all. How then, I implore you, does one extend a "tax break" to 95% of all Americans? This is accomplished by wealth redistribution. In other words, stealing from Peter to pay Paul. To extend the logic above, this would result in pretty solid support from Paul, wouldn't it?

In my profession, I have to keep up on political happenings as it directly effects the services I provide my clients. It is not uncommon for people to spend a great deal of time and energy trying to avoid taxes. These people are usually very productive people...likely the most productive people. These are type of people that provide jobs, innovate products, and give to charity.

Why should we give people incentive to engage in activities that are clearly non-productive (i.e. tax avoidance)? I have heard alot in this election cycle about "fairness." In the tax code, what would be more fair? To illustrate this, let's look at two people who benefit from the same national defense, the same judicial system, the same law enforcement, and the same public infrustructure. One spends $10,000 a year to hire professionals to ensure they are in compliance with the many laws and regulations our society has, but does not actively use the court system, and the other is in and out of the judicial system due to breaking many laws and regulations and defended by a state appointed attorney. It would seem reasonable that the latter person would be responsible for a greater share of taxes (the cost of public resources) than the former. However, I am sure you can all recognize that would not be the case.

Now the government has decided that they should loan money to the domestic automakers. Why? The biggest reason I have heard is that they are "too big to fail." This is as weak an argument as might exist. The other one I have heard is that "we bailed out the banks, why not the automakers?" I guess when you make one stupid decision, you may as well continue making stupid decisions because you have a track record.

Why is Detroit in this predicament? To be very simple, they are not making a profit. If my business was failing, I would certainly like someone to loan me money to continue to lose money and pay my bills as I produced my product at a cost higher than that which I could sell it. However, no one in their right mind would do this.

Of course, the government isn't lending their money. They are lending OUR money. Ponder this for a moment...there are 300 million people in the country...the loan to GM is almost 10 billion...So...each american just loaned GM $33. Except over 40% of americans don't pay income taxes. So those that do pay taxes each just loaned GM $55. This is on top of the types of services we NEED to pay for that I mentioned above.

Needless to say, I have read reports from economic experts who put the amount GM would need to actually retool and become profitable at 75 to 125 billion! Do the math...that is up to over $5,000 per taxpayer. Is this really a good idea?

Oh, and since Congress has done such a good job for us...they get a $4,600 raise too. Honestly, I'm not sure how to make this right as there is no simple answer, but shouldn't we at least not give money away to failing businesses.

If GM entered bankruptcy, their assets would not disappear. The buildings and machinery they own would not disappear. They would be purchased by someone who could use them and make a profit. The workers employed by GM would likely be hired by whomever purchased these plants OR they could find training for an occupation that does not need government subsidy to survive.

I suppose I could go on and on about this as the issue has multiple sides and is a terribly dynamic issue. However, businesses fail and are started every day. Jobs are destroyed and created every day. Allowing the Big three automakers to meet their demise, or at least enter bankruptcy, is the only efficient way to allow the companies to become competitive and profitable, if it is possible. American taxpayers are on the hook for enough debt already through the essential and (more troubling) careless spending of government. We do not need to add to that debt.

Friday, December 19, 2008

I started writing this at 5 am...

We finally left the house yesterday... the snow here is downright nuts! But then, prompted by a question from my dad, we got to thinkin' (a dangerous game around here). We have had a pretty major snowstorm up here 4 out of the last five years. At this point, I am thinking we should buy a snow shovel and some sleds so that next year, when Charles is a bit older and bigger, we can really enjoy it! Which is really not to say that we haven't enjoyed the snow - watching Buster tear through it is pure mirth. Also, we made cookies! What has made being cooped up most bearable, though, is that Charles has really changed lately. For one thing, we are about to get off of the Diaper Rash Party Bus. Plus, he is more alert when he is awake, and has been sleeping A LOT during his most recent growth spurt (still up every two hours to eat, and he ABHORS a wet or dirty diaper, but nonetheless, it means lots of precious cuddle time with mommy and less overall sleep deprivation), which makes it easy for me to get things done. He has done this funny thing where he chubs up real good for a few days and then grows, getting all skinny (relatively) again. His feet are now reaching the bottoms of his 3-6 month pyjamas! I wonder if early growth is any indicator of later height? It would be fun to have a tall son. Oh, yeah, and Charles is holding his head up and I even got a real smile this morning! Only one, but still, it was sooo amazing!

The reason we left the house yesterday? A friend of ours is on bedrest at 33 weeks. It reminds me how extremely fortunate I was in my pregnancy - all gigantor-ness aside, I was happy to make it to full term and not have to deal with any problems.

Here are some recent photos:


Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Snow Day

Here I am, typing with a baby sleeping on my chest. He didn't sleep last night, so he is making up for it now, and I am sitting in a very awkward position. Oh, well. At least he's quiet.

Anyhow, I am writing to tell you all, "Holy Crap! It's really snowing!" AGAIN. Like, a lot. It is just coming down now, has been off and on all day long, so we are up to about a foot of accumulation. My dear neighbors came and shoveled our walk this morning without telling us (so sweet, I am baking them cookies... which I shove in the oven every time I have a free hand), but it is all covered with snow yet again. I haven't been out of the house today, but really, where would I go? Baby, it's cold outside. However, this means that Christmas shopping is postponed once again. Should have done it online.

Buster is our constant source of entertainment in this weather - now he has to search for his toys under a fresh layer of snow and it is pretty funny! Okay, so I am not sure anymore what I was going to post about, and I am sure it was awesome, but now Charlie is awake and we are going to have playtime, during which I will try to coax that ever elusive smile from him. Happy white Christmas, everyone!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Why we love this dog...

So here is a video of Buster I took this morning. In case you can't hear me explaining, he will pick up his toys, which are completely covered in snow, and throw them because the snow is so cold it feels like they are biting him. It is pretty funny. Also, you get to see how much snow we got last night. As of about 3pm yesterday, we didn't have any on the ground. Apparently, it isn't supposed to get above freezing until Thursday or Friday this week. Hopefully, the streets stay passable.

Enjoy!
video

Saturday, December 13, 2008

New Pro Photos

We had another set of photos done the other day... check them out!

www.millersalbums.com
event code: 67150P5weeks

Charles is one cute kid!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Update

My goodness, I sounded pretty pathetic, didn't I? I had a rough day on Monday, and I am really thankful for all of you who wrote or called with your good wishes and advice. This IS the hardest thing I have ever done, being a mom, and I do sometimes feel like I just plain suck at it. But I do love Charlie, and hopefully that will be enough to carry us through. I worry sometimes that I am missing the wonderful parts about him being a baby because he has been so uncomfortable lately.

The good news is that his poor, sore bottom is improving... the rash is not gone, but somewhat diminished. I hope that he will sleep well again when his butt is totally better - after that one night of great sleep, he has been consistent with the waking every two hours thing.

Oh, but he is still mega cute, and today he spent most of the day awake! It is awesome to see his little eyes taking in anything that is six or ten inches in front of his face. He got a good look at Grandpa Roger while he was here for the past couple of days, and had fun over at Uncle Leland's tonight looking at his goofy mug, too. The Holeman men make such weird faces at babies!

So, in all, we are doing a bit better and I am hopeful for tomorrow. Perhaps it was all your prayers and well wishes that helped us to turn the corner. Thank you.

Monday, December 8, 2008

FAIL!

From the moment we walked out of the hospital, poor Charles has been besieged by pain and suffering: gas, blisters on his newly-exposed winkie (post c-i-r-c), and horrible, horrifying diaper rash. I am now convinced that if there were tests or certification courses to determine eligibility for parenthood, I would not have made the cut. Disregarding my ridiculous weight gain (still can't wear my wedding rings) and stress during pregnancy, my overall performance as Mom has been abysmal. And truly, I have been afforded every luxury: a husband and extended family to care for me and Charlie, friends to bring us dinner (I haven't cooked a meal since delivery... how's that for useless around the house? Don't even get me started on the sad state of laundry and other chores), and enough money to buy what we need. All signs point to "Should Be Able to Effing Do This." But I can't, apparently. Instead, my baby cries because he's hurting and I can't do anything about it, other than offer him a bloody, blistered breast and hope that causing myself boob pain will somehow take his pain away. Except that it doesn't, because the more he eats, the more he dirties his diapers, and the more his butt hurts.

So I called his doctor today and we have yet another prescription paste to put on his rash, with instructions that if things aren't drastically better by Wednesday, we are to go in so I can be chastised by the nursing staff for DOING IT ALL WRONG.

So why have I painstakingly typed this post out with one hand while holding a dozing infant (he hasn't napped more than 20 minutes at a time today)? To implore you to pray, wish upon a star, or hope that Charles will get some relief from his suffering and there will be less crying in this household (by the both of us). Because I can't fix it, even though I would gladly suffer through cracked nipples and thirty extra pounds for THE REST OF MY LIFE if he would just be okay. And I suppose that I might have just cursed myself there, so, in the future, if Charles does get better and I complain about my fat ass, will someone please remind me that I traded looks for the health of my baby? Totally worth it, but I might never leave the house again. Oh, and if you're looking for a cute wardrobe, size 6, cheap, just let me know.

It's a good thing the doctor put me back on birth control, because I can't fathom subjecting another child to my ineptitude.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Hallelujah!


Charlie slept last night. From 2 am until 6:30 am. FOUR AND A HALF HOURS. Then, he ate for an hour and went back to sleep for another THREE HOURS. I cannot begin to explain what a difference this makes in the attitudes of the adults in this house. As I said to Tony this morning, even if he doesn't sleep like that again tonight, at least I know he CAN and that someday, he WILL. For parents of a newborn, the promise of four hours of uninterrupted sleep at some point in the future is a revelation.
We continue to get used to life with a baby 'round here. Charles and Buster and I take at least one walk every day (this has done nothing, so far, for my poochy tummy, but I am hopeful). I think Buster enjoys this the most, since we usually meet up with my friend, Deanna, and her dog, Lucy, to play in the park. The Baby Bjorn frontpack has become our favorite baby item (thanks, Mer!), since Charles instantly falls asleep in it and it allows me both hands free to do WHATEVER I WANT. Including eat, which seems to be the thing I forget to do most often. The weekends have been great because Tony is here, and I get to do a few more personal things, like do the dishes, take a longer shower, do laundry... okay, so those aren't really personal and they don't sound like much fun, but when you have an infant, a leisurely shower is like Christmas.


Charles still fusses a fair amount, especially between 11 pm and 2 am. He isn't really colicky- that is to say, he is not inconsolable when he is fussy, he just doesn't want to sleep. So, I feed him, change him, bounce him, rock him, shush him (we have been reading The Happiest Baby on the Block - the advice about calming a baby is awesome. We have discovered that Charles likes REALLY LOUD white noise, such as the vacuum, the stove fan, or the hair dryer), and then repeat the process until he falls asleep. He is still sleeping with us. Every time we put him in his bassinet, he wakes up. We think the mattress is just too hard. We should receive his new crib this week (it was back ordered) and we hope that will work out better for him.


I am still totally in love with this squishy little guy (not that I expect that to ever change). And by little, I mean big. He is already in 3-6 month clothes... the 0-3 month outfits won't even zip up now. Sigh...

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Photo Extravagaza!

We have a friend/business associate who is a stellar photographer and who cut us a great deal on baby photos to expand his "family" portfolio (our photos are even in his brochure!), and we wanted to share the first couple rounds with you. We will have photos taken all year of our little dude, so we'll let you know when to check back at this link. The event code is 67150PCharlie08. You will be asked to give an email address, go ahead and use captcook at hotmail dot com to save yourself the spam.

Note to grandparents: these photos have not been retouched and we would prefer that you order prints from Larry, if you so desire. His info is on the welcome screen.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

big baby boy

11 pounds, 10 ounces at 3.5 weeks... if Charlie continues at this rate, he'll weigh over 50 pounds by his first birthday!

I suppose this explains why my boobs constantly hurt: it's tough to keep up with the feeding demands of such a large child.

Our screamer is healthy, except for some troublesome diaper rash and a belly button that is bordering on herniated. Mom and dad, however, are exhausted.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Cute Baby Photos

We won't hold out on you... we know you don't want to hear from us and you only want photos of Charles. It's cool. We can handle it.





Now that Charlie's demanding public is placated, we just want to wish everyone a happy Thanksgiving. Three days late. Because we roll on baby time now :-)

We had a wonderful week filled with lots of family. Charles got to meet his cousin Claire and his Aunt Sarah and Uncle Andy, as well as spend time with both sets of grandparents. He even got to meet his daddy's aunt and cousins on Friday! We still aren't sleeping much around here, but I understand that is pretty normal for a 3-week old baby. Charles is growing by leaps and bounds, and it is amazing how different he looks from day to day, almost. He opens his eyes more and more each day, too. We are truly blessed with a wonderful addition to our family, and we are thankful every day for his safe arrival and his continued growth and good health.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

adorable

typing with one hand, because mr. adorable is in the other, nursing. almost as cute as Charles? these puppies.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Who needs sleep?

Greetings monitor viewers,

To those who have printed this out to read it: please stop now.

So after all Hell broke loose, it has somewhat been fastened again. As parents, we are experiencing the typical feelings of elation at being blessed with our beautiful baby and utter inadequacy of being able to calm him when he is upset (which really only occurs between the hours of 11pm and 3am). This, coupled with sleep deprivation, makes for a truly unique experience. Since I don't have a hormonal bad ass stew running through my body, I can acheive such objective review of the situation.

This last week my Mom came up to stay with us and allow some semblence of order to the house. She was absolutely wonderful: doing our laundry, dishes and preparing meals. We can't thank her enough for being there for us.
Charlie is healthy, which is mostly exemplified by his prolific use of his lung capacity. He seems to like to sleep between 3am and 11am, not continuously mind you, but those are his most restful hours. Buster is adjusting well. This mostly in part to him getting a new squeaky toy. He is a VERY complicated animal:).

Amelia says she feels like this:



Although she still looks like my beautiful wife:














And now for the gratuitous Charlie pictures:











Friday, November 14, 2008

And then all hell broke loose...

Who needs an oven and a washer anyhow?
Two or three days ago (time having become relative to the last feeding), the washer broke. Just great when you have an infant in the house and laundry coming out your ears. Every time we set it to wash warm or hot, it would just turn off. Now, our washer is new, a ginormous gift from my parents when we moved into this house, broke after plunking our savings and graduation gifts and grandma gifts into a down payment. Seriously, thing should not break. And, in fact, it didn't, the washer repair guy was just here, flipped a few switches back and forth (just turn it off and on real fast!) and it is fixed. But that's a different story that didn't end in tears, only extreme frustration and, oh, okay, a few tears at having to shell out 80 bucks for something we'd TRIED doing ourselves multiple times. Gar.
So, anyhow, at first I called Sears, since that's where it came from, and even though I have my mom's receipts for the dang thing, Sears has NO RECORD OF IT EVER BEING PURCHASED. Which translates to: We can't help you. No, seriously. I finally, after speaking to three people and crying, literally, on the phone to the third, got a service appointment set, when they hit me with the payment options. Minimum $109 charge just to have the repairman come out, on top of any fees s/he might charge for a service call, plus parts and labor. I guess this is Sears' fee for the "service" they render over the phone. Some service. I cried again. Then, they offered me a DEAL, the bastards: Pay $214 now and we'll cover all service for the next year. What a deal, especially considering that, as I said before, the washer is new as of 18 months ago. Likely, we won't need any service on it for another ten years. So I did what any woman with crazy just-pushed-a-nine-pound-baby-out-her-you-know-what would do. I cried and passed the decision to Tony. He wisely said "up yours, Sears" and made a service appointment with the local appliance company that outfitted our entire kitchen.

Then the oven broke. Only the oven is really broken, not just flip-switches-back-and-forth-to-miraculously-fix-it broken. All those meals I prepared and froze for "when the baby comes"? Useless to me now. The repairman comes for that on Tuesday. At least it is solidly under warranty. There were tears involved in the discovery that we had no working oven, as well.
Then, on Thursday, we took Charles to his c-i-r-c-you-fill-in-the-rest appointment (there are crazies out there who have that term on permanent Google Search just so they can leave blog comments about how hundreds of American men - is that even statistically relevant? - try to reverse theirs every year with disgusting weights and tape. My thought is that they obviously need something to blame for their stupid lives, and looking to their actions or morals just seems too difficult, so they focus on some physical ridiculous-ness that all men I have talked to, Tony included, say isn't even a choice. It's just what you do with sons). I didn't stay in the room for the procedure, I made Tony do it, but I was thoroughly traumatized by the bloody aftermath. I now understand, I think, what it is to be a mother: wanting, wishing, praying to do anything to take away all suffering of your child. That and a bunch of other stuff. Anyhow, that whole thing ended in tears for me as well. Aren't hormones awesome?

My folks are here this weekend, which has helped me to be a bit more sane today (funny what taking a shower and brushing your teeth will do for a girl... now if only I could find time to eat) and my mother-in-law comes on Monday to help out. Such a blessing. In the immortal words of Britney Spears, "Parenting is hard, y'all." It has taken me hours just to finish this post.

The little chomper is doing well and eating lots (my porn-star-sized breasts are sore as all get-out), mostly sleeping well, too. I am so in love, I can't even describe it. Here are some of the latest photos:


That's a big yawn for such a little face :-)

Monday, November 10, 2008

The pics.

As new parents, we are fully aware that we no longer inhabit center stage...and happily so. Consistent with our newfound part of the stage, this post is simply all the pics we have of Charlie so far. I was going to pick out just the good ones, but, interestingly enough, they are all good.

Here's Grandpa Holeman.and Grandma Holemanand Uncle Lelandand Godfather Brandon and Melyssaand Glenda the Good Nurse. She taught our birthing class. and Charlie's Kung Fu grip.
and Charlie's Superman pose.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

The story.

Hi everyone,

Kids these days. You bring them home from the hospital and all they want to do is meet new friends on the internet:).

Mom and baby are doing well. All the grandparents made it up Friday and have been a tremendous help. My parents are staying in the room next to the baby. I imagine Charlie kept them up most of the night (at least Mom...Dad was snoring:), I feel kind of bad. However, this morning Grandma calmed down Charlie enough to let Amelia get some sleep. She is sleeping right now. He sure is a hungry little boy.

I am amazed at how quickly he is starting to look like his own person, even at only three days old. I feel a bit useless as I don't possess the tools to really calm him down, but I am learning.

So the story of his birthday:

Amelia went to work on Thursday and had experienced contractions most of the day. However, they were very brief, not regular and for the most part not painful. She called me at about 4pm and said I should probably wrap up any loose ends I had at work as she felt like labor might start that night. I got home about 6pm and starting recording each contraction. They were anywhere from 6-22 minutes apart and still not regular. About an hour later, we went for a mile and a half walk in the rain because Amelia was determined to keep the contractions going. After our walk and a small dinner, the contractions began to get more painful, but were still about 10 minutes apart.

At 8:45pm, her water broke. She wasn't sure if that's what it was. She went into the bathroom to check and all I heard was," Oh, that's disgusting." I couldn't help but laugh.

We called the doctor's answering service and a few minutes later were told to go to the hospital. We live about a mile away, so we walked in the birth center about 15 minutes after her water broke. In the triage room, the nurses tried to put in an IV, which is standard, but were having difficulty so we were moved down to a regular room after about 15 minutes. The contractions were becoming increasingly painful, but not unbearable. Once in our room, Amelia's contractions started coming so quickly she couldn't hardly take a breath in between. Unfortunately, the hospital had misplaced our registration paperwork, which we had dropped off weeks earlier. So while I am trying to keep Amelia focused on breathing and working through the contractions, the nurse is asking us things like,"Does anyone in your family smoke, etc?" This was a little distracting, to say the least.

Things seemed to be progressing, so finally, they decided to scrap the questions and check Amelia's cervix. She was at 6-7 cm. This was all of 5 minutes after we were in our room. About three contractions later, she was standing holding on to me and said (scream may be more like it, but now I have an excuse for not hearing out of that ear) "I need to push!!" The nurses by this time were a little frazzled and the doctor had still not yet entered the room. They, of course, said not to push until they could check her cervix again. When that contraction ended she was at 10cm!

Being a first child, we were certainly prepared for a long night of walking the halls, trying to relax, doing all the breathing we had learned in our classes. We had both brought books and figured we would likely be up all night trying to keep labor going.

Once they determined the baby was ready to come, Amelia pushed through about 4 contractions and Charlie entered the world. Amelia and I were both crying, but probably for slightly different reasons:). I would say we cried like a baby, but the resident baby was doing no such thing. This has since changed:). Amelia was able to have a completely natural childbirth, just like she wanted. Even though I don't think she ever thought it would happen like it did. It happened so quickly that much of it was a blur.

Apparently, we were the third baby that night at the hospital born within an hour and a half of arriving. Something must have been in the air.

Thanks to everyone who was able to stop by the hospital while we were there and to everyone who has sent their congratulations otherwise. We will continue to post pictures of him (because, who cares about the rest of us:). Amelia will be home for a couple of months before heading back to work and the grandparents will be here on an off for that time as well. If you are in the area, feel free to stop by and meet our newest addition. I'm sure he would love to meet you.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Meet....me!

Hello World,

I just entered the world November 6, 2008 at 9:46pm and I wanted to say 'hi' to everyone out there. My name is Charles DeHaven Cook. When I was born, I was 20 inches long and weighed 9lbs. 3oz., which turns out to be the same as my Dad and my Grandma. Even though my due date wasn't for a couple more weeks, I figured I would come out of my Mom because she had been asking me to do so for a long time. She's done so much for me; I figured I would do something for her. She asked me to be born at 38 weeks, but I forgot to look at my calendar and missed it by a day. Time goes by so quickly when you are in utero, but you probably already knew that. By the time I realized it, I hurried up and got right out. I'll let her tell the story of that though.


I got home to my very own room couple of hours ago and I have to say it's pretty nice. I mean, my parent's have to share a room, but they gave me one all by myself. They know a little man's gotta have his privacy.


So far, I've been crying a little bit, but not a lot. Mom and my Grandmas calm me down pretty well when I get upset. There's just so much new stuff I see all the time. Like everything! I like to eat a lot and my Mom keeps me good and fed. She's a pretty awesome lady. Here's a picure of her today at the hospital. My Dad's ok, but he's not really as good as my Mom. He said he can't give me any food yet, but I think he might just be holding out on me. I did show him my crazy wrestling skills and pin him down on the couch for a couple hours at the hospital.


All in all, life is pretty good...at least both days so far. I want to thank everyone for all the cool stuff in my room. As a last photo op, here is me strapped in my carseat wearing my fleece lion outfit. It was my very first time wearing anything other than my hospital shirt. I felt kind of urban so I threw up some signs to my peeps. What up yo!

P.S.: I might only be two days old, but did you notice I know how to use a semicolon? That's right:).

Monday, November 3, 2008

Halloween

As you could probably surmise, I have spent my 27 Halloweens in a variety of places and a variety of costumes. This year perhaps wins the "Best Costume Ever" award. Outshining Elvis, a Barrel of Toxic Waste, a Librarian (Tony's request... like you needed to know that), many witches, Madonna, 80's Career Barbie, and more, I give you the grown-up version of what our baby would be like if we actually named him or her Cletus:

Yes, that's me on the left, complete with PBR Tall (that my friend Sheran drank for me) and AC/DC tattoo. As you can see, Tony did not let me go out of the house alone in this getup, but he also refused to go with me. Hmm. I know you can't tell from the photo, but I have enough makeup on to give me a five o'clock shadow and a happy trail up my exposed belly. I had more strangers take photos of me than ever before on Halloween and lots of compliments. Really, it comes down to working with what you've got, and what I've got is a large belly. So, I guess you could say that for Halloween, I was a hick and the baby was a beer gut. Good thing the Boobs of Fury are prominent enough that no one actually mistook me for a dude ;-)

Where did we go dressed like crazies, you might ask? Why, the local theatre for the annual showing of "The Rocky Horror Picture Show," of course. And let me assure you, we were tamely dressed compared to some...

Thursday, October 30, 2008

We've got the biggest balls of them all

I would like to preface this blog entry by saying that I support the concept of public art and installation art. I think it is important to support the arts and I think that municipal installation art is a great way to expose the public to great works of art.

I also think that there are reasons to not purchase art, especially using hotel/motel tax funds. Hotel/motel tax funds are designated for endeavors that will promote and enhance tourism in the city. These funds are often used to run visitor's centers, advertising campaigns, and city beautification projects. Occasionally, I suppose, public art falls under that last category. For example, Renee O'Connor's lovely tiles in the sidewalk in Long Beach - they have a historical message and are beautiful and I think they enhance the tourist experience. But sometimes, art for art's sake just doesn't work for me. And the whole town of Mount Vernon is up in arms over what I (and many people) think is a particularly ugly and inappropriate piece of installation art for which the city paid $30,000 in hotel/motel tax funds and then decided to put in front of the building in which I work. Why here? Because the downtown association thought it was too ugly to put downtown, and the Mayor did not want it in the part across from his office because he didn't want to look at it every day, either.

So, what comes to mind when you see our lovely new sculpture?

I think it looks like sperm. And so do lots of other people. Notice that it is white. We are taking bets on how long it will be before it is tagged with graffiti. You know, since it now lives outside of the freakin' bus station.

Fortunately for Mount Vernon, we are not short on creativity, and this has sparked a new interest in coming up with a "fresh" slogan for Mount Vernon.

Mount Vernon: We've got the biggest balls of them all

Mount Vernon: Get it on!

Mount Vernon: Come rub our balls

I just don't get it. How does this giant sculpture (which, by the way, the artist has been trying to sell since 1999 and didn't have any takers until he found some suckers on our city council, who did as many politicians do and didn't listen to the constituency - basically the entire town - when we said that we didn't want to buy this monstrosity) attract tourists or enhance their tourism experience?

All I can say is that I think I am going to go kick Mount Vernon in the balls when I leave work today.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Failure

It's funny how things can feel like they're going so great, and then you can hit one day, just one 24 hour period, and things seem to fall apart. Worried, scared, frustrated, tired, sad... just some of the many emotions I am experiencing right now. Oh, and I am trying not to wallow in self-pity, I really am, but geez, things are no good, you know? Tony spent some time ripping up the floor last night where the contractor said he didn't think the floor needed to come up. It was soaked, the contractor is full of crap, but I will surely be holding my tongue around him because, hey, he is fixing this all for free (as well he should - it was his screw up). So things smell bad, there is black mold, a large dehumidifier machine makes a ton of noise, I have no working dishwasher or oven, I can't reach the microwave, and my house is a mess. To top off my fears of poisoning my whole family with this fiasco (seriously, black mold is BAD and that many Clorox fumes can't be good either), I know my blood pressure is getting worse. I can feel my face all hot and throbby. So, all in all, Monday was not a good day and it has sort of screwed the entire week.

I feel like I am failing this child already. Okay, so I have felt that all along. I have gained waaay too much weight (who's a big, fat whale?) and now I have high bp and am breathing spores. Due to the bp, I am no longer doing even the minuscule housekeeping items I was doing before, like the few hand wash dishes we have and feeding the dog, because every time I move, my heart freaks out. What makes it worse is that this child is no closer to coming out and I will likely have to go through another five weeks of miserable, swollen ankles and clothes that don't fit (even large maternity shirts!) before I bring this baby into the world. And then, what if it's deformed or has some horrible disability?

Thanks for reading my rant, internet friends. I am trying to believe it will all get better, but I have a real hard time seeing past the dust and detritus in my kitchen and living room, or the dirt in my bathroom, or the laundry piles, or the overflowing garbage cans, or... I could go on, but you get the picture. Even without the kitchen torn up, things are dirty enough that I wouldn't want to invite friends or family over to visit. So don't come over! Gah!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

PIH

So the throbbing in my ears and the pink cheeks? Pregnancy-induced hypertension. Scary!

I had another checkup yesterday and my BP was a bit high. High enough that I am under strict orders to attend no more meetings and to "take it easy." No more Crazy for me! And this comes at a time when our house is about to get ripped up AGAIN. Yes, the contractor screwed up and connected our dishwasher to our garbage disposal incorrectly, so we have been unknowingly leaking water into our floor everytime we run the dishwasher. We only noticed when our beautiful new flooring started to swell and buckle. So, for the next few days, it's all ripped to pieces and drying before the contractor will put it back together. Gar!

Wish us luck over the next few days... I think it might take more than just rest for my BP to calm down!

Saturday, October 25, 2008

The Crazy

Lacking only a few items one might deem "good ideas" for a baby room (i.e., a diaper pail and perhaps a few more receiving blankets - I hope to avoid doing laundry that first week), the baby room is done! Now, before I share photos, let me just preface with a few comments. Tony and I are not designers, and we're not matchy-matchy type people. I guess we're what you'd call "eclectic," and as such, our baby room is probably not nearly as Winnie-the-Pooh, flowers-and-butterflies, color-coordinated gooey baby themed as most other nurseries. But we like it.



As you can see, we finally purchased a dresser and it is already full. We have lots of newborn clothes and blankets, so I figure if we have a really "spitty" baby, we are set for a few months. The bottom drawer has lots of clothes for later in the munchkin's career as a baby, including many adorable sets of footy pyjamas. Why don't they make footy pyjamas for adults?


The painting is a print from Goodnight Moon, my favorite child's book ever. We have three copies for the baby to chew on and love. The blue wall is also adorned with a painting of Buddha, I believe, given to me back in college by my good friend, Dave, who spent a year in Sri Lanka. The bassinet is going to be great in the baby room for the first month or more while we wait on our backordered crib (which matches the changing table... there, we were matchy-matchy about something). Then, I plan to move the bassinet downstairs so baby has somewhere to sleep whilst I am cooking or whatever on another floor of the house.


In case you were wondering, most of the things one purchases for a baby room come in packages marked "Assembly Required." That was so with the bassinet as well as with the lovely white changing table (and I imagine will be the case with the crib). Tony did a magnificent job putting the pieces of the changing table together, and he didn't even have that many left over at the end! I'm sure we didn't need those parts, anyhow. As you can see, my station at the rocker is all set and ready with my boppy in place (a side note: the competitor to Boppy is called My Breast Friend. I find this a little disturbing).

Lastly (well, other than the closet, which is really just a closet with that adorable whale-shaped laundry hamper inside), I present to you "The Fun Wall." We have baskets of toys, a well-stocked bookshelf, maps, and a patient dog who is probably wondering, "what the hell? There's a whole room of junk in here that smells all weird where before there was an awesome guest bed on which I loved to sleep!" (Buster occasionally has impeccable grammar. Other times, I could swear if he could talk, he would say "Durpa durpa durp..." like the happy idiot he is.)

So now that the baby room is finished, The Crazy that is nesting has turned me to other parts of the house to fulfill my nesting urges. This afternoon, Buster and I went to Lowe's for the express purpose of purchasing a squeegee because I COULD NOT GO ONE MORE DAY with dirty windows. There's still one I can't reach, so Tony will be pressed into service when he gets home from work (Tony's version of nesting is to work on Saturday to try to get things buttoned up before baby). Buster enjoyed a trip through the drive-through (as soon as I even think of drive-through, I think of that ridiculous SNL skit with NSync... "Why don't you drive through my heart/can I take your order...") of Dairy Queen for a small vanilla cone. I think the gal at the window was amused when I immediately held the cone out to Buster in the passenger's seat for him to start licking. I think it only took him about a minute to devour the whole thing, but it sure was funny to watch that big, splotchy tongue lick the cone and his eyes roll back in his head with delight.

I also cleaned the oven today. Because we've had it since March or so, and I have never cleaned it. For shame. The garden has been weeded, each night I make and freeze a meal for later this year, and now I am about to go tackle the ironing. The Crazy sure makes me productive.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Shower with love...

A bit late in posting this, but I owe a big, gigantic THANK YOU to the lovely ladies who put on and attended my second baby shower in Mount Vernon... wow! I had a ton of fun, and I was totally exhausted by the end of the day! The highlights were that my Aunt Lisa and my Aunt Cindy (pictured with a friend's baby) both drove up to attend; it was wonderful to see them!













We played some interesting games, including one where everyone had to "birth" a small, plastic baby from an ice cube. Our new friend Janin, wife of a new hire at Tony's firm, won!


Everyone also had to guess how large my belly was by cutting a piece of string. Janin, who is also pregnant, won that one as well. Most people WAAAY overestimated. Including my own mom! I guess I look a lot bigger than I am? I don't know, is that a good or bad thing?

This is my boss, Kristen, who threw the shower:

All in all, we had a fun time, and little baby cook received many gifts from his/her adoring fans, including a crib from my mom, a bassinet from my mother-in-law, and a changing table from my Aunt Lisa! Holy cow, we might be ready for this baby after all!

Last night, we purchased a dresser, and Tony put the changing table together. The crib is backordered until December, but we have the bassinet for the baby to inhabit for the first month or so. I will take some photos of the baby room this weekend, after I clean it a bit better.

I was supposed to have a doctor's appointment on Thursday, but the office called and rescheduled me to Monday due to an emergency. In my last-weeks-of-pregnancy hormonal anxiety state, I was a little bit peeved. After all, people are starting to tell me that I have dropped (and oh, can I feel it-- pregnancy is painful, people!) and I really want to know what my status is. An aquaintance of mine, who was due on November 21, gave birth this weekend! Yikes, that totally made me realize how close we are!

Oh, and here are the new standings in the pool:

10/31 - Mom

11/10 - Amanda

11/11 - Cris

11/14 - Kelli

11/15 - Maggi

11/17 - Jeanne-Marie

11/18 - Monica

11/19 - Loris

11/20 - Keleigh

11/21 - Carole

11/22 - Sarah

Monday, October 20, 2008

Swim Lanes

So here are the standings as of now for the baby pool:
11/10 - Amanda
11/11 - Cris
11/14 - Kelli
11/17 - Jeanne-Marie
11/19 - Loris
11/20 - Keleigh
11/21 - Carole
11/22 - Sarah

So, plenty of time for anyone else to weigh in. I promise to send the winner something cool after the baby comes, but don't expect it to come right away. I'm not planning on much sleep during those first few weeks.

In other news, I had another great shower this weekend with lots of friends and family up north... I will post about that with photos later. Also, Braxton-Hicks, yay! (not.) It is a pretty weird sensation for your belly to get all hard for a few seconds, then relax... and not be controlling it whatsoever! I am thinking pregnancy is all about letting go of control...

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Jump in the Pool!

So, my office started a baby pool, and I thought I would get one going here...


Official due date: November 19th (LMP method)
9 week ultrasound due date: November 17th
19 week ultrasound said BIG BABY
Doc says I'm healthy and doing great
I'm not waddling yet, but I am feeling lots more pressure down there, if you know what I mean... the baby could be dropping a bit.
My poor little fingers are swelling, and I have taken to wearing my wedding rings on a necklace to save myself any unfortunate loss-of-finger incidents.
I have a hair appointment on October 31st, so I am counting on at least making it that far.


And here are the most recent photos, taken this evening:





So, friends and family, here are the rules: choose a date (and a sex, if you dare... my office pool is much more complicated with weight and length as well, but I am not suggesting you buy into such insanity) and put your guess in the comments. If someone else has that date, pick a different one. Maybe by the time I have this baby, I'll come up with a cool prize for the winner :-)

By the way, I will admit that I am impressed that I am so large! I mean, I guess it doesn't look weird on other pregnant women, and I am totally within the realm of normalcy (for the pregnancy, I mean), but dang! When it's your own body, it's a different thing. What I really can't believe is how small my boobs look next to that belly, even though they have taken on gigantic proportions compared to their pre-pregnancy size. What a crazy adventure, huh? It's pretty cool, despite the uncomfortable madness and loss of control. I started to think today that I might be sad when it's all over... *sigh* I am trying to really enjoy these last few weeks of belly jabbing from little legs and arms before I never again feel this baby inside of me.

Okay, sorry for the sappiness... on with the guessing (side wagers are up to you, you crazy gamblers)!