Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Yar-tide Greetings

Here is Alexander on Christmas morning, tearing open a couple presents at home.



Then we went to grandma and grandpa’s. (Of course, we had to change into a Christmas outfit first. Grandma showed great self-control in not getting him anything that required antlers or elf ears as an accessory.)



(Due to the drool bib, you can’t see that his green outfit says “Baby’s First Christmas”. The velour seemed to just increase his rate of drool… and who can blame him?)

The next day, we traveled to Iowa to meet Santa…


We had an unexpected overnight due to the weather. So Alexander ended up wearing the same clothes for 2 days. Once he got home and got naked, it sure felt good. Ooooh yeah!



Alexander’s toy inventory has increased by 1200%. It’s a great haul, but if this trend continues we estimate that by 2012 Hasbro will complete its take-over on our house and we will be sleeping in the garage. But guess who will be happy?

Monday, December 22, 2008

Witness Learning in Action

Alexander has learned how to imitate the kissing sound.
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If that doesn’t yar you out… then you, my friend, are made of stone. And I bet that makes it really hard for you to swim. So you are just drowning in a pool of yar right now. Good luck saving yourself from that convoluted metaphor.

Hilarity

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What’s so funny? A little yellow starfish on this thing:



Yeah, I don’t get it either… but his slightly insane laughter is infectious.

Walking on Sunshine

Alexander has been training hard for the “Daddy- Grandpa Fun Run”.
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OK, so you can’t expect a four-month old to really walk. But he does look like he has been studying old Lord of the Dance videos pretty intensely. He knows how to step, is what I'm saying... (*sigh*, no one gets Michael Flatley jokes anymore and yet I continue to tell them... must! move! on! from! hilarious! self-absorbed! irish! dancer!!)

Some of his clothes just aren’t made of his new active lifestyle. It’s hard to tell by this video, but he does tend to “walk out” of pants with footies. I guess that explains why it’s hard to find footie pants in adult sizes. Once again, please ignore the embarrassing high-pitched “mommy” voice. (It's hard to tone down when he is being so adorable.)

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Tuesday, December 16, 2008

What big eyes he has...

Alexander just had his 4-month visit with the pediatrician. He’s now 17 lbs, 12 oz and is "developmentally advanced". Yes, he’ll be doing our taxes in no time.

He also had to get the same round of shots he had at his 2- month visit… an oral vaccine plus four shots. He cried, of course, but moments after I picked him up he stopped crying - so he did much better than last time. He even gave the doctor a smile before she left the examination room, so apparently he forgave her and her ridiculously long needles. (Although he probably won't be so forgiving once he develops a short-term memory that is longer than 15 seconds.)

In other baby news...Alexander has learned that when I pull the camera out, a big flash is coming. When he sees the camera, his eyes get wide and he starts blinking hard. It is hilarious. Here’s an example of what I am talking about… Alexander was happy and laughing. I bring up the camera and this happens:




OK, fine… so I talk to him a bit, get him laughing again, quickly put the camera back in front of him and I get this:


OK, we’ll try again. I tell Alexander his favorite joke (the one about the tongue that goes *pssssssbt*), he cracks up, I slowly bring the camera into view, and CLICK:


D’oh! One last time, and this time, I think I got it. I get him laughing again, take the camera out, he gets all wide-eyed and blinky, then instead of taking a picture I re-tell his favorite joke. He laughs, and I quickly take the picture:


YES! Ha-HA! I shouldn't feel so proud for having outwitted a 4-month old... but, come on... this is an "advanced" 4-month old. Let me have this victory.

OK, I've got to run out to Target because he has literally outgrown all of his clothes overnight. If I don't go now, we'll have to make him an emergency giant romper out of curtains.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

The Collective Rosy Cheeks of Illinoisans

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20081209/ap_on_re_us/blagojevich_corruption_probe

Chicago and Springfield are so corrupt you almost get the idea that they are joking. It’s like the state is run by old-timey caricatures of greed and corruption. I mean, really -- who voted the bipedal pig with the top hat and monocle into office?

Here is a little local trivia to illustrate. When you are traveling along any north-south road that crosses the Illinois-Wisconsin border, you can always know which side of the border you are on based on the condition of the pavement. Really. You can close your eyes and actually hear the moment you pass the state line. It works on not just a couple roads… but every single one. How does Wisconsin manage to have pothole-free roads without toll booths set up every 500 yards? It's because cheesehead politicians take taxpayer dollars and actually use it for public good. Hurray!! Er... let me use a local colloquialism for exclaiming happiness: PACKERS!!!!

I want our property to succeed to Wisconsin. We live close enough to the border, it should be a simple transaction.

Let’s cleanse the palate with a bit of cuteness:


Ah, that’s better. Alexander seems to understand how life is a delicate balance of horror and hilarity. He is often laughing hysterically, then he’ll suddenly curl his lower lip over into a pout and start crying… then just as quickly return to laughing. I assume he isn’t bipolar – he just has a surprisingly sophisticated grasp on reality.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Look Who's Walking

Sometimes this is the only way Tim can get me moving too.

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Please ignore my embarrassing "mommy voice". I should have toned it down for the video, as it is a bit horrifying if you are under 2 years of age... but, to be honest, it is pretty much the only way I talk any more.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

His Bib Speaks the Truth

This exchange seemed to go on for hours.
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It leaves only one question: Is he laughing with grandma, or at grandma? Either way, it’s something to be thankful for – Happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Awww… his first boogers

Alexander is in the throes of his first cold right now. This cold started with Tim, then traveled to Alexander, and today the torch is being passed to me. Of course, my version of the cold is a bit mutated in symptoms from the original cold that Tim had so I wonder if I will pass this mutated version of the virus back to the guys. Ah, the circle of microscopic life. It's such a beautiful, snotty thing.

Here is something you don't really think about until the situation arises... babies can't blow their nose. They also can't nurse with a stuffed up nose. The solution? A booger vacuum. Since I was on bedrest for most of the pregnancy, I had time to think about and research these things. So we already had a top of the line booger vacuum on hand. (In polite society this is called a nasal aspirator.) This bizarre device even plays music to distract the baby from the motorized sucking sound. The first few times, Alexander actually enjoyed it. Once the novelty wore off, and the true horror of the event set in, he no longer enjoyed the booger vacuum. We have to stop using the music feature before a Pavlovian response is established - we'd hate for him to scream every time he hears The Entertainer. It could make for some awkward moments with the local ice cream truck.

Fortunately, Tim has a way of making everything better. Here is a picture of Tim singing to Alexander. Sorry there is no audio with this – but you can see the look on Alexander’s face and fill in the blanks yourself.



All the singing worked, and here is Alexander sawing tiny logs. Yar.

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Some logs aren't so tiny...

In other adorable news...Tim had a client stop by yesterday and drop off some media. For some reason, Alexander thought this guy was just hilarious. Although the guy didn’t provoke it, Alexander just looked at him and laughed and laughed. Fortunately, the client was amused rather than insulted. Babies have a way of sensing “good peeps” and laughing must have been his way of saying he liked the cut of this guy’s jib. Wow. I don’t even know what a jib is, and Alexander has already mastered evaluating them. He is so 99th percentile.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Baby Workout

Ever wonder how he keeps his thighs so chunky and his cheeks so round? Do you want to achieve the same Michelin-man physique? Check out Alexander’s daily routine with his personal trainer:

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(The blinking portion of the workout is especially grueling.)

Our Lil’ Hacker

We’ve learned how to keep a baby entertained for hours.



Mmmm… screensaver. Trippy…

Woooooooow.

Hunting Wabbits

One of the unexpected joys of motherhood is goofy hats.

Maybe if I talk louder, they will understand...

I make up words too, so he comes by it honestly...
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I think his story was about an owl that hurt himself. (See, there were lots of "woo"s and "ow"s) And don’t worry, Alexander's not drowning in a duck-infested waters. That’s just his blankie.



One good story deserves another. This time you will see Alexander is taking a cue from our neighbor and talking loudly without his shirt on. If only there were some teenage kids he could berate, it would complete the 'angry neighbor' look.

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And, believe it or not, he does actually say “mama” on occasion. I don’t have video proof, but I do have reliable witnesses who would be willing to testify. He doesn’t associate 'mama' or 'maaam' with me – as far as he is concerned, "mama" is just as meaningful as the word “ah-goo”.

And I swear last night he said “Where’s Grandma?” but maybe I just need to get some sleep.

Compare and Contrast

Alexander is definitely a morning baby. I just wish he'd start his mornings a bit later. Here is his mood at 4:00 am:
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And don't let the singing fool you. Here is my mood at 4:00 am:

(That’s just a yawn, by the way. No need to call paramedics.)

This onesie was made for rollin’

That’s just what it’ll do. One of these days this onesie's gonna roll all over you.

OK, enough with the bad Nancy Sinatra impression.

Alexander made his first unassisted roll over yesterday! The way that he always tries to sit up, Tim thought his first roll over would be the long way (back to toe to tummy – if you can visualize that feat)… but instead he opted for the standard tummy to side to back form.

Here he is getting angry at the situation before flipping over.


Way to locomote, boy!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Blue Interrogation

We’ve been trying to get our insurance all figured out. Today Tim had a phone call with Blue Cross Blue Shield. Although Tim has only been to the doctor twice in the last two or three years, they still wanted to know every detail about those visits before they’d decide if he is worthy of their fancy pants insurance. Tim is very healthy and pays far far more in premiums than he costs the insurance company. You’d think they’d be happy to take his money. No, instead they act like they are doing a huge favor to even consider offering him coverage. They flicked on the interrogation lamp and the conversation sounded something like this:

BC/BS Interrogator: What was the nature of your doctor visit on December 2, 2005?

TIM: I don’t even remember what I had for breakfast this morning.

BC/BS Interrogator: What diagnostic code was used for your strained shoulder in summer of 2007?

TIM: Negative five?

BC/BS Interrogator: You do not amuse us, sir.

They also quizzed Tim about Alexander. One question jumped out as really capturing the essence of the entire interrogation. “Does Alexander smoke or use tobacco products?” If he could have, Tim would have responded with the sound of chirping crickets. That is all the response the question deserved.

It seems ridiculous to even ask if an 11-week-old baby smokes, but some infant must have posed for this ceramic figurine.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Babies actually say “goo” – who knew?

Alexander is pretty well recovered from his visit with Dr. Pokeman (Get it? Shots? Pokey? Huuh?? Funny? Yes? No? Hello? Is this thing on?)

Alexander has been cooing for a while, but in the last week he has been getting much more insistent and is already learning to ramble on and on and on and on (like his mother). His favorite vowel is the letter “o” as in “ooooooooo” and “wooooo” and sometimes just “goo”. Yes, he lives up to baby stereotypes and actually says “goo”. I didn’t expect that. I mean, our cats don’t actually say “meow” and pigs don’t say “oink” and giraffes don’t say “welcome to Toys R Us”.

But babies actually do say “goo-goo”. And, yes, it is ridiculously adorable. I have found if I repeat what he says, the result is a very very amused baby. He gets excited, gives a huge smile and sometimes laughs. He’s just thrilled to be having a conversation (and, yeah, so is mom). While neither one of us knows what we are talking about, I have to say these are the most meaningful exchanges I’ve ever had.

Here’s a little snippet of Alexander ‘talking’ with grandma. I haven’t gotten very good video of him cooing yet because it is always too adorable to walk away from and get a camera. (You have to listen carefully to hear him cooing at the beginning of the video.)
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We had a visit from Amy last weekend, and here is a picture of him talking with her. Yar.


And just for kicks, here is a picture of the boy being forced to wear a goofy hat.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Pediatrician or Sadist?

On Tuesday we had a doctor’s appointment. Alexander now weighs 14 lbs 1 oz – so we were a little off in our guesstimates of 75 lbs. Maybe if I had spent the last 9 months in the gym instead of on bedrest, I could lift a feather without popping a blood vessel. Well, if 3 am infomercials have taught me anything, it’s that it is never too late to go from a before picture to an after picture. Alexander is serving as my weight machine. Since he is needier than the average weight machine, he provides great motivation and I’m up to 2 million reps a day. Soon I can justify calling my biceps “guns”.

Anyhoo, the little guy hasn’t been feeling too great this week because the doctor gave him five (yes FIVE) vaccines. In fact, one vaccine was a 3-for-1 shot, so really he had seven vaccines. Four shots in his leg and one oral vaccine. That seems really excessive for a little guy of his size. That’d be the equivalent of an adult man getting 64 vaccines in one horrible doctor’s visit. Even though I knew the shots were better than, say, contracting polio, I have to admit it was really hard to watch. One minute he’s a happy baby and the next he is crying his eyes out. Stupid doctor with her stupid live-saving vaccines…

So this week we’ve been busy trying to convince Alexander that life really isn’t that bad. Fortunately we don’t have to go back to the doctor until his 4-month appointment in December. By Alexander’s timeline, two months is literally a lifetime away. Thank god.


Below is a reenactment of the incident.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Newest Automated Parenting Device

In an effort to be lazier as parents, we are willing to try out any automated parenting device that may keep the boy entertained long enough for us to wipe the drool off our shirts. (I’ll let you guess the source of the drool.)
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Alexander got so excited watching his mobile, that he got the hiccups. Now when was the last time YOU were that thrilled about something? Being a baby is awesome.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

A Love for Fine Literature

In the following video, please ignore my ultra embarrassing high coos. (Not to be confused with my shameless haikus.) Alexander has become a big fan of the book "Where's Baby's Belly Button?" I won't give away the ending, but I will tell you there is a big twist*.

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*if you followed that story as it was read, you'll know the twist was that there was no twist. It was ridiculously predictable, even for a baby's book. Just wait until they make a movie out of it...

Would you mind holding the boy for a second?

I had to go take a shower so I asked if Tim would hold the boy. Here is the Tim holding the boy.



Alexander actually responded favorably to Tim's experiment in minimalist parenting.


Can't argue with results like that.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

LOL Milestone

Alexander laughed out loud (or LOL’ed as the kids say) for the first time this morning. I wish I could say it was the result of some ironic joke, or even the result of tickling his feet. I actually have no idea what was on his mind that prompted the laughter. And as much as I wish I could rewrite the story of his first laugh, I have to admit it happened while breastfeeding, just before he latched on. My boobs are trying not to take it personally, but it was a bit hard on their self-esteem.

Anyway, a laughing baby is officially the most mind-blowingly adorable thing you’ll EVER see in your life. I swear it. Maybe someday he’ll tell me what struck him as so hilarious when he looked at my breasts…and then the real healing can begin.

In other news, I had my 6-week postpartum appointment the other day. Everything looks pretty good. I’m still anemic, but I’m now allowed to cut back a bit on my iron supplements. I found out I had developed HELLP syndrome during delivery. No, that isn’t a misspelled cry for assistance, it’s an acronym that stands for … Hemossssblahblah Elevated Liver Lowered …Peanuts….?? I don’t know. Do I look like a doctor? It is somehow related to the pre-eclampsia and must have happened during or after delivery. Of course, no one told me this while I was in the hospital. Maybe they figured I already had enough pregnancy drama to fill an entire “very special episode” of E.R. Or maybe the doctors decided to invoke the Freedom From Information Act. Apparently my liver enzymes are still elevated as a result of this HELLP syndrome… that or else I am secretly drinking about a dozen pina coladas a day. No worries. Things should return to normal soon. I’m feeling pretty good anyway… but that could just be the pina coladas talking.

Tim helped with the ‘Friends of the Lake’ clean-up day yesterday. He’s good at representing our household as being neighborly types. Local drama continues in the 'hood. The president of our association regularly sends out mass e-mails that include swear words and threats to quit. I’d post one of his e-mails here, but they are so over-the-top you would never believe it came from the association president. He is an angry angry man. He also never says hello, never smiles, and never wears his shirt. His reign of terror can only end if someone else is willing to be president. So far, apathy has prevailed and he remains president. Or maybe everyone is just too entertained by his rage-fueled mass e-mails to let him step down. That’s the neighborhood news.

Uncle Dave and Aunt Rachel are coming into town this week to hang out with Alexander. We told Alexander and he seemed excited. We hope he is happy for their visit, and flashes lots of gummy smiles. But all visitors should be warned that Alexander has some impressive mood swings. He may look happy in pictures we post on the blog, but individual results may vary based on time of day, hunger level, air temperature, and literally thousands of yet undiscovered baby variables. Prepare for total unpredictability. (How do you do that again?) But, more importantly, prepare for lots of yarrrr.



Speaking of unpredictability, I've gotta run.

End transmission.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Shameless Yar

Just a few pictures to turn you into a tender pirate ("yarrr").

We got Alexander's mobile installed... no thanks to the stupid french instructions. What is this, Canada? Anyway, the boy is amused.



Here he is enjoying some good times with the old man. (And with the onset of his baby pattern baldness, he will soon look like an old man. Notice the cowlick. Please, in lieu of onesies and baby rattles... send styling gel.)



And here he is sharing what appears to be the greatest joke ever told with Great Grandma. We wish we knew what the punchline was...

Friday, September 19, 2008

Such a baby…

Hello, blogophiles. Alexander has been growing in cuteness, weight, and neediness. He’s now 12 lbs 4 oz (that’s 95th percentile – yeehaw!) and he has decided that his happiness depends upon being held upright. If he isn’t upright, he is very sad. Yes, it is an odd thing to pin all your emotions on, and we tried to explain that to him… but his wails are so convincing that I am beginning to re-evaluate my own posture for optimal comfort. He may be onto something. Being upright is pretty sweet.

Anyway, I’m saying this to explain the lack of entries lately. We are doing everything we can to keep the baby happy and I should be getting some really killer biceps soon. I may start referring to my arms as my ‘guns’.

Alexander still giving us the greatest gummy smiles, and fighting sleep like a champion. Basically, he continues to be the coolest little man that we have ever met. Yeah, he is a total time burglar but he gets away with being so high maintenance due to above mentioned gummy smiles.

Hopefully I can post an entry of more quality soon… until then I gotta run, the boy is demanding a posture adjustment.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

This is not just gas…

As happy has farting makes the boy, these smiles are NOT a result of gas. We swear it.

Alexander has been yarring out his mom and dad with what we are certain must be his first “real smiles”. He did this the other day when I was giving him machine-gun kisses (rapid fire mwah-mwah-mwah-mwah - much more tender than the name implies). Today, the paparazzi were on hand when Alexander was give dad big wide smile for making funny sounds for him. If Alexander likes funny sounds coming out of daddy, he is in for a lifetime of amusement. (Sorry Tim, that was too easy.)

Here are four separate smiles given to Tim today. Prepare to be yarred out,







Tuesday, September 9, 2008

As Clean As He Gets

With the last of the umbilical cord gone, Alexander has graduated from sponge baths to actual baths. Tim and I realized there was yet another seemingly simply task that we had no idea how to accomplish. Fortunately, the boy wasn’t aware of our incompetence and had total trust in us. We managed to get through it without anyone losing an eye.

This is probably the most highly documented bath in history. Although this will ensure Alexander’s future embarrassment, we will share pictures of his first bath here for the entire World Wide Web to enjoy.


First, a "before" picture. Note that the boy is filthy and unaware of what is about to happen.


Here he is hitting a large body of water for the first time in his life. He looks a little surprised. He is probably questioning that previously mentioned trust at this point.


And then we scrubbed and scrubbed.


And the boy sort of seemed to like it… he is blurry but happy.


Alexander continued to oscillate between having fun and being in a total state of surprise throughout the bath.

(yikes... mom should have brushed her hair, or put on make-up, or gotten more than 3 hours of sleep before being photographed. Well, this is reality, folks. Laziness prevails over vanity.)


Sadly, the fun had to end – although the towel had it’s own cottony appeal.



The end result: a clean baby! TA-DA!!!

The Boy is Strong-Necked

Alexander practically came out of the womb lifting his head. Hopefully this won’t be his greatest achievement in life, but we are proud of him for it anyway. Here are a couple of pictures that document his furious head lifting skills.





No, Tim is not holding his head up and this is not an illusion. It is raw talent.

People are always so quick to try to take anything a baby does and project what that means for the baby’s future. This social phenomenon starts when he is still in the womb. All it takes are a few hard belly-shaking kicks for someone to announce the boy will be a football player (although a can-can dancer would be equally likely outcome for that skill set). So what does a strong neck mean? He’ll be great at holding up traffic due to his exceptional rubber-necking skills? Will he be the world champion at whatever the heck this guy is doing?



When all that heavy lifting is done, the boy sleeps HARD. Ignore the odd look on my face, and focus on the adorably crapped out look on Alexander’s face. When he sleeps hard like this, it is almost impossible to wake him, and he saws the tiniest little logs. Yar.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Oh the songs you’ll sing…

Sorry for the vaguely Dr. Seuss subject… that is about where I am mentally right now. Something about spending a lot of time with a baby will make your search your mental music archives and pull out some unexpected surprises. Just yesterday, I realized I was singing the theme song to WKRP to Alexander.





I don’t know what was more surprising - that he found the song soothing or that I actually knew all the words. I didn’t even know I had ever seen the show, but obviously those lyrics made a big impression on my subconscious.

Anyhoo… Alexander continues to blow our minds with his cuteness. Sorry. I refuse to ever get over how cute he is and I will probably never ever shut up about it. These last two days, he has surprised us by staying awake basically all day. Aren’t 3 week olds supposed to sleep a lot? He does sleep well at night – although we still have to feed him every other hour. During the day, he seems to have mistaken us for much more interesting people than we actually are… because he fights sleep like crazy, as if he is going to miss something really good if he dozes off.

The church delivered several meals to us, which was nice. Although it is still a little awkward to have visitors as I have to spend (literally) 12 hours a day bare-chested in the name of adding a few more little fat rolls to the boy. We are hoping the feedings schedule might lessen a bit after his one-month appointment on the 18th,… but by then I will probably be so accustomed to this half-nekkid lifestyle that my sense of shame will be a ‘burden’ of the past.

Speaking of which, I gotta go for another feeding --- although I have enjoyed this half hour of not having a 10 lb little man attached to me.

Before I go, though, I have to post some pictures for Aunt Rachel who also believes Alexander is the cutest thing since sliced bread.




Alexander and Grandma (aka - The Woman Whose Mad Grandmothering Skilz Were the Only Thing That Allowed Us to Sleep in Alexander's First Week of Life. But it is easier to just call her grandma):


Mom and baby dozing after a comforting lullaby of WKRP in Cincinnati:


Bathtime is one of Alexander’s top five favorite activities - even above looking in the mirror and farting:




And, just in case you were wondering… yes, we still have two kitties. They are both very sweet towards Alexander, and Bear is especially protective and becomes distraught whenever Alexander cries. But when Tim and I are focusing all of our attention on the baby, Cow and Bear just fall back, hold paws, and reminisce about when they were the center of attention: