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.