Tuesday, December 30, 2008

off the charts!

Yesterday was Andrew's one-month check up. Wait for it.......

12 lbs, 4 oz. 24 inches long.

He's added 4 inches and 2 lbs 12 oz in one month. He's officially off the charts for the height and weight. (he's already grown out of some newborn clothes.) His head size, though, is right at the 50th percentile. It's impossible not to do comparisons with Elizabeth - her head size was so off the charts the doctor always remeasured after the nurse to make sure it was accurate. And while I don't remember exactly, she went off the charts early on, then settled into somewhere between 50-75 percentile for height and weight.

Sleeping is getting better - we've had two nights with stretches longer than 4 hours. And when he is awake, he's alert and bright-eyed - he's lost what my friend Vickie calls the newly-landed-on-earth look. And I'm not quite sure when that happened, though I meant to notice, but I do know every day he learns a little more and settles into his life on earth with us.

My friend Thrift Store Mama has a quote board on her blog, with a quote from our friend Laurie: "how nostalgic I've become for times that haven't even passed yet." So true. Every day he - and Elizabeth - grow, and learn, and change. And if you miss it, you miss it. He's still an infant of course, and is quite snuggly, but it only took a few days it seems to leave the tiny baby stage behind. I page through iphoto with Elizabeth, showing her baby pictures, comparing to Andrew, showing her what will come. It won't be long before he's laughing, rolling over, sitting up, trying solids...all the milestones to come. We'll treasure every one and won't miss a minute of it.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Another Birthday

Lots of December birthdays.

Happy 4th birthday, Samantha!



Monday, December 15, 2008

Shout-outs

Happy Belated 38th Birthday Michael!



And, Happy 7th Birthday Emily and Benjamin!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

whoa

Busy week! Monday we saw the pediatric surgeon; yesterday had the two-week checkup.

The surgeon/tongue clipping was fine - simple, over quickly, and mostly without fuss. The doctor told us it would hurt us more than it hurt him, and then sent us to the waiting room right next door to the procedure room. There was no sound-proofing, so we heard the shocked/angry cries, and they brought him to us with a wad of gauze stuffed in his mouth, shrieking angrily at the injustice of it all. But he was over it quickly - nursed and promptly fell asleep. And yes, it's made a difference in the latch, so all in all a good thing.

And then the 2-week checkup. Turns out we might not be raising a quarterback, much to Rich's chagrin, but rather a linebacker. Hopefully not an offensive lineman, though.*

Recap - born at 9 lb 8 oz, dropped to 8 lb 6 oz, at one week gained to 8 lb 13 oz. I typed last week of course we wouldn't hit birth weight by two weeks. Ha, haha haha.

9 lbs 13 oz. He gained ONE POUND in 8 days. That's two ounces a day. He's 4 oz beyond birth weight. WOW. Our little man is not so little. All that nursing at night must be having an impact.

In better news, last night instead of every two hours, he was up every three - 11 pm, 2 am, 5 am, 8 am. Not too shabby. At least compared to up all night.

(* who are we kidding? We're raising the president of the math league, not a football player.)

- Susan

Friday, December 5, 2008

Not quite

Perfect, that is. Well, awfully darn close to perfect, but after our one week doctor visit on Monday, we have a little bit to do.

Let's see, first things first. Andrew was born weighing 9 lbs, 8 oz. By day four in the hospital, he was down to 8 lbs, 6 oz, which was a drop of over 10%. But, happy news, on Monday he weighed 8 lbs, 13 oz. So he's definitely on the gaining side and we're not concerned about weight at this point. He may not hit birth weight by two weeks, but we'll get close enough.

You might recall a couple of the posts have mentioned I didn't think he was latching entirely correctly. I wish I had typed out what I thought was the problem, because turns out my mother's instincts were spot on - the lactation consultant/nurse practitioner looked at him for no more than 5 seconds before saying, wow, he needs to have that frenulum clipped! He's tongue-tied. So that explains the minor difficulties in nursing. The Doctor Sears link makes it sound very easy, but I guess nothing in this area is easy. We have to see a specialist and the procedure is considered surgery. We scored an appointment for this coming Monday morning - even though the specialist had no openings until January they had just had a cancellation. Wish us luck!



Whaddya mean, not perfect??!! Of course he's perfect!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

NaBloPoMo friends


So we made it through NABloPoMo - a post a day. I'm sure you've noticed our blogroll over on the right - all friends from my mom's group, all of whom agreed to participate in NaBloPoMo. We had fun posting, reading each other's posts, and commenting. Blogging is a nice way to have a little window into daily life. My mom's group formed based on a weekly breastfeeding support group we all attended in the fall of 2005. I went initially to get out of the house and talk to other new moms, and kept going because it was so much fun to be in a room with women who were experiencing similar life changes, had similar questions, and who could provide just general support and friendship. After each class, we'd gather our stuff and head off to a long lunch to continue talking. As our time in the class drew to a close, I was bummed to lose this support group, and it turns out others were too - and so we started meeting monthly for a playdate, and e-mailing, and then meeting monthly for Mom's night out dinner, then monthly for downtown lunches. And from all that, real friendships have forged.

We had a special night out at Therese's to celebrate NaBloPoMo - Thrift Store Mama documented the night and the "blogging awards."

- Susan

Sunday, November 30, 2008

OMG

A conversation from last night:

E: This boy baby is so cute!
Daddy: Yes, he is. Please be gentle (our newest mantra, repeated endlessly)
E: But where's the girl baby?
D: The girl baby?
E: Yes, Mommy had the boy baby and now where's the girl baby?
Mommy: [sob!]

[Dora's twin brother and sister made quite an impact on her]

- Susan

Saturday, November 29, 2008

company!

Today we had a few visitors - Rich's good friend Marc and his girlfriend Sharon stopped by for some football in the afternoon. Sadly I missed them, since last night was kind of rough and I needed nap time. And the only pics taken were with Marc's camera.

My friend Amy stopped by this evening for a few home brews and a little baby time. Elizabeth is a huge fan.



Nice to have friends stop by - I don't feel quite so homebound and out of it.

- Susan

Friday, November 28, 2008

Big sister


This morning at 7 am

E: Mommy, can I hold the baby? Can I Mommy? Please can I hold the baby?
M: Um, ok. (careful set up)
E: Mommy, this baby is very cute.
M: Yes, he is.
E: Mommy, Andrew is very, very cute.
M: He is, Sweetie, actually he looks like you when you were a baby.
E: Mommy, he is so cute. What store did you get him from, Mommy?

Thursday, November 27, 2008

First night

I remember this with Elizabeth, too. What to do that first night? The
c section makes getting in and out of bed a challenge, to say the
least. So I'll stick with an armchair and we'll all be flexible as we
figure this out. We're thankful to be here.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Curse you NaBloPoMo

Argh. Now I know how that guy in the Dunkin Donuts commercial felt. "Time to do a blog post."

Ok. So this isn't the right clip, but when I saw this after doing a quick YouTube search for the aforementioned commercial, I came across THIS gem:



Anything with Tattoo is quality stuff worthy of being on this blog.

Looks like we're getting out of here tomorrow! Pediatrician gave Andrew the green light. Mama is definitely ready to go home.

- Rich

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Baby Pics

Check out our delivery posts from yesterday - now with pictures!

Here's our little guy. Mom & baby are still doing well. With any luck, Susan & the little guy will be released Thu morning in time for Thanksgiving.

News of interest to the Milk Moms: Latching is going pretty well on one side but not so much on the other. He's quite the rooter but gets lazy at times.

The little guy has his days inverted -- he likes to sleep when it's light and party all night! Woo hoo.

Now for the pics. Welcome to the world Baby Andrew!





A bonding moment with Mommy.











Check out the hair!













Ah, swaddling. We meet again. I shall master thee this time.













Proud papa and his little boy.










Meeting big sis -- with help from Grandma.










Mommy and her babies.













First family photo.







- Rich

Monday, November 24, 2008

He's here

And he's perfect. Andrew James, born at 1:04 pm, 9 lbs 8 oz, 20.5 inches long. Pics soon. Already nursing up a storm. Mommy, Daddy, and Andrew are great. He'll meet Elizabeth and family later.

Mommy and daddy are both cell phone reachable. Still in recovery, should be in room in another couple hours.

Welcome, Andrew James!

- Susan

Epidural waiting

Still waiting. Scrubs kind of tight in the seat. But I have a cool surgical hat.

Susan looks great today. She left in a good if not nervous mood. I don't get why I can't be with Susan during this part. I should be with her. Hopefully going back soon.

- Rich

All systems go!

Susan is off to get her epidural. I'm getting changed and will wait to go to the OR. Here we go!

There she goes!

- Rich

And now the wait

Everything checks out. IV is in. Just waiting for the lovely epidural.

Had to do yet more paperwork. I filled in the form while the nurse asked Susan the same questions and entered them into the system. And she didn't even take the form with her? Is all this busy work supposed to be distracting and calming? Hit the gong on that one. As an IT professional, I am appalled by the amount of duplicative data entry around here.

Ok, this isn't a consulting gig, so back to the real story. Mom and baby are doing well. That's what counts.

- Rich

At the Hospital

All checked in - including the same information and paperwork Susan did on Friday (wtf?). At least Susan got to expend some energy on righteous indignation. (Her words not mine.)

Susan is in her gown awaiting the dreaded baby monitor to be strapped on. E was sweet when we left the house and wanted to go with Mommy. Stay tuned for more play-by-play action!

Looking good and ready to go!

- Rich

P.S. I do a pretty good Howard Cosell too.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Test post

Blogger apparently has a feature that allows e-mails to be posted to your
blog. Testing to see if it works, as that might turn out to be the easiest
way to get posts up next week. After all, NaBloPoMo is a harsh task master.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Beware Little Girls Peddling Antacids

Yep, we're all sick. Wonderful timing, of course. Can't say that I completely blame the "tainted Tums" but it probably didn't help. Susan wasn't given one, and she's got this nasty cold too. Really stinks for her.

E still has the cold and is waking up a couple times a night. Last night she had a coughing spell then called for Mommy. When I got in there, she handed me her stuffed cat. When I looked at it, I noticed that the entire head was coated in thick slime. A couple of her blankets met with the same fate. We checked her bed, and she had thrown up. Off comes the pillowcase, the sheets, and the mattress cover. Poor baby girl.

Hopefully we can kick this thing in the next day or so. Going to be tough if E keeps waking up. She's got some Vicks on her chest and Tylenol in her belly, so let's keep our fingers crossed.

- Rich

Friday, November 21, 2008

Inconveniences

Off to hospital pre-op today. I have a fairly healthy skepticism of the medical profession. At least I think it's healthy - and basically based on I think their major practices are based on the convenience of the health provider, not the receiver. And pre-op at the hospital is another example. It was pretty straightforward - arrived, checked in at admissions, filled out insurance paperwork, then two vials of blood. I was prepared for long waits, but was only there 40 minutes. But, certainly could have done the paperwork Monday morning. And given a full bloodwork set at week 36, not entirely sure why they needed blood. So, their convenience, not mine, and I was slightly grumpy about it, and pleased to be out in a relatively quick time (but say I worked a job where I did not have much time off - this was their convenience, not mine).

Headed home, thinking I had an hour or so unexpectedly open. So I was actually mulling over just driving around a bit, and was annoyed because the car seemed to be responding sluggishly. And was loud. And what was going on? It took me a mile, thinking maybe hole in muffler? A door rattling? What? When I realized, duh, I have a flat. Pulled over, and yep, rear tire flat flat flat. Oh, and did I mention how frigging cold it is right now? And that today was Rich's last day of work for two weeks, so he had a whole series of meetings set up for today to hand everything off. And had I been driving on a flat all morning? How had I not noticed? So a series of phone calls between my parents and Rich and me - my parents have AAA, so they came out to meet me, my mom called the service, my dad took off to run more errands, and 40 minutes later they showed up and even plugged the tire (for an extra $30, which was high, but at least it's all fine). So, it all worked out in the end. But seriously? A flat tire?

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Here's to the Ladies

As a homebrewer I'm always in search of interesting and eclectic beer types. I'm highly partial to Belgian ales (and made a kick ass doppleganger of Delirium Tremens), but I'll experiment with almost any style. I was in search of a beer to make for our upcoming Baby Boy Baptism Booze-fest in Dec, when I stumbled across an interesting recipe in one of my books.

Ever heard of a "groaning ale?"

I certainly hadn't. Turns out, it's a practice that dates back to colonial America. Here's the description from my book:

"In England and colonial America, a 'groaning ale' was prepared by an expectant mother as soon as she learned of her pregnancy. Using only the finest ingredients, a high-gravity ale was brewed and conditioned for seven to nine months. When labor began, the midwives would tap the cask and share the special ale with the mother, to help them through the ordeal. Legend has it that the newborn would be bathed in the beer, since it was purer than the available water."

Who needs an f'n epidural?

And how cool are those colonial women -- this country's original homebrewers!

I have this image of the father filling his pewter mug from the cask and hanging back catching a buzz while the mother is doing her thing. If there was any justice, the midwife would have told him to pound sand and saved the luscious brew for the mother.

The par-tay is in late Dec, so I don't have 7-9 months to age the beer. But, I modified the recipe slightly and brewed it a couple weeks ago. Hopefully, it'll be ready in time for the party. By my estimation, this will likely be a 10% alcohol brew (most beers are in the 5-6% range). Here's a picture of it as it continues to ferment:


The golden color is from the light malt, honey (3 lbs!), and brown sugar.

Keep your fingers crossed, and your palates ready.

- Rich

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

boot camp

I distinctly remember, when close to the end of Elizabeth's pregnancy, stumbling out of bed for the middle of the night pee break, and thinking, wow, I cannot wait for this pregnancy to be over so I can sleep. And then the absolute lunacy of that thought caused me to wake fully and burst out laughing.

Well, 4 days to go, and Elizabeth is kindly putting us through her own version of new baby boot camp. Yep, last night she was again up every two hours with this cold of hers. Refused to sleep alone, so we actually pulled the crib mattress out of the bed and Rich tried sleeping on the floor of her room with her. Desperate times, etc. But she ended up in bed between us once again at 2 am for another disturbed, restless night.

She's definitely better today. 45 minutes after putting her down, I was just in there for potty break. Here's hoping she'll actually sleep the rest of the night. By herself. In her crib (which normally she loves).

- Susan

First of all...4 days to go...

...wait for it...

ZOINKS!!!

Mommy is very tired tonight, so I thought I'd share the remainder of the story from last night. Now, in bullet-ized format for easy digestion by you, our faithful readers.
  • Specifically, I slept on the crib mattress on the floor in E's room. And, I can now safely say, I understand why E likes the crib so much. That mo-fo is comfortable!
  • Unfortunately, the blissful slumber on the crib mattress ended all too soon. Then it was back to the bed with E & Mommy and my 4" sliver of mattress. Honest to God, I thought long and hard about going back to that crib mattress.
  • Apparently, I am a bed cover hog. So, last night, I tossed as much of the covers over to Mommy & E as I could. (For those not on the East Coast, it was friggin cold.) Too much, unfortunately. I ended up having to use E's pink blanket. Aesthetically, it's an 8 out of 10. But, it's like a 2 in the warmth dept.
  • E didn't even use any covers. That girl is like a walking space heater.
  • An antacid- and whimper-free night.
  • This all probably sounds completely ridiculous to y'all. (Come on, how many of you rolled your eyes at "crib mattress?") Lack of sleep aside, in a way, it's been fun. Guess I'm just bent that way.
  • Oh, and when Susan said that E kicked her in the kidney the other night? There was an audible "thump." Ouch.
- Rich

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

morning update

Well, the night was as unsettled as feared. As Elizabeth said this morning, "I am losing my throat!"

Rich was up with her at midnight and got her settled back down. I cheated at 2 am and brought her into bed with us. She was so pathetic, "mommy, I can't stop coughing. I'm a big girl, can I come and sleep with you?" How can you resist that?

All was fine until 4 am, when she woke up feverish again. And kicked me directly in the kidney, but that's another story. We got more medicine in her, but she was pretty much awake for the next hour, and pretty sweet, though at 4 am nothing is truly that sweet. We had a container of antacid on the nightstand she grabbed - here Daddy, here's some medicine for you, too. She opened the container and carefully shook one out. Then promptly sneezed on it and shoved it into Daddy's mouth. Which is when Rich started whimpering. (yes, whimpering!) But, she did sleep in until 8, so it wasn't terrible.

However, this seems like a nasty cold. 6 days to go and we're all doomed.

And the hair. Well, in my family, straight, thick hair is the norm, so this curly stuff is throwing me for a loop. She's never had it cut, and my plan was to have it grow long, down her back and wear in ponytails or braids, as my sister and I did. But the curls might have another idea. Anyway, turns out there are a number of resources for curly hair, and I stumbled across a reccomendation that said, especially in winter, when hair can really dry out, if it's not otherwise dirty, instead of automatically shampooing, skip the shampoo and just condition. You only really need to shampoo once a week. So what the heck, worth a try, Rich has been doing that and it does make it softer and more manageable.

- Susan

Yes, whimpering. Having only gotten about 2.5 hrs of sleep by that point and having a freshly disease-laden antacid deposited in my mouth and teetering off the edge of the bed, I probably could have "manned up" a bit more. We'll see what this night holds.

- Rich

Monday, November 17, 2008

Code ????

We're talking about the bath here. If there's a code yellow and a code brown what do you call it when...

"Daddy? I threw up in the tub?"
"Yes, baby girl, you did."

Code Chunky, maybe?

She felt a little warm but not overly so, and was running around having a good time tonight. Grandma and Papa arrived tonight to help out when the little one arrives (which is no more than a week from today!). And E was excited to see them. She tried to negotiate her way out of the bath:

"Ok, Sweetie, remember we had a deal. Bath tonight."
"I can take a bath sometime...I don't have to take one tonight...Maybe yesterday...I don't want a bath."

In spite of that brilliant argument (better than some recent debates), I put her in the tub. She really didn't want to go and stood there crying. I managed to rinse her hair and put in conditioner (which is apparently recommended in lieu of shampoo for curly hair) as she stood there, still crying. I started to prepare her to be washed up, still standing there crying, when she started making a slight gurgling noise. And then it all came out.

I yanked her out of there and had to hold her over the tub as she "finished up" a couple more times. Poor thing. I wrapped her up in a towel, but I still had to rinse the conditioner out of her hair, which I did. She was sobbing and trembling and calling for Mommy.

She felt a little warm and was beginning to sound a bit like a 3-yr old Demi Moore, so she's probably coming down with something. At least, I hope that's it. If I caused her to cry to the point of vomiting, I may have to rethink this hard line approach to bedtime.

It probably wasn't me. Before going to bed, she said, "Mommy, that food killed me."

More later on where the developing k-i-l-l stuff is coming from.

- Rich

Sunday, November 16, 2008

The Zoo with the Daddies

Yesterday, I got together with some buddies of mine from UVa and their kids at the National Zoo. We had tried to put together a similar outing over the summer, but it didn't pan out. The weather started out threatening rain, but it turned out to be a beautiful day. We get together with my friend Rea and his sons Rea Smith (3 mos younger than Elizabeth) and Ross (just turned 1) every couple of months. It's good to give the Moms a break and for us to catch up on family stuff and avoid the usual frustrating conversations about politics and UVa sports.

We hit the lions & tigers (a couple of the young lionesses were roaring -- Elizabeth loved it) as well as the Great Ape House, cheetahs, elephants, sea lions, and Amazonia. It was a really good day.

Checking out the monkeys

Staring at Daisy the orangutan with Rea Smith.
Ross thought the camera was more appealing.


Hanging with Rea Smith, Sophie, and Nick

-- Rich

Saturday, November 15, 2008

hmmmm

So this might be a more difficult adjustment than I thought. Rich brought the pac n play downstairs and set it up this afternoon. For Elizabeth, we had it in the dining room, and often used it with the bassinet attachment for naps.

So Rich sets it up in the living room, and Elizabeth spent a pleasant and happy hour or so in her "new crib."

And then when we went to put her in her crib for bed, tears and trauma - but I want to sleep in my new crib downstairs!!

Uh oh. The storm passed quickly, but still.....

I'm hoping we can leave it up a few days and the novelty will wear off, then add the bassinet and all the baby parts and by that point she'll be done with it. At least I hope so!!

Friday, November 14, 2008

people are nice when you're pregnant

So, I've been running errands the past few days, trying to get things bought for the baby and E and the house and me (I should be Christmas shopping too!), and honestly relishing a little bit of freedom. And today experienced two good deeds, which I totally chalk up to pregnancy sympathy.

I had an errand to run in Virginia (we need a futon for our frame - and we need it in 2 weeks for when my sister arrives!) and took the chance to stop in my favorite store. Talbot's Outlet was having a sale, and their discontinued children's stuff was 75% off, plus maybe I figured I'd find a good deal on shirts for me. Picked out a few things, all super discounted and cheap, and then made the fatal mistake of checking out the shoes - my downfall. And of course found the nicest pair of tall brown boots. About $60, with all the markdowns. And then went and stood in line.

The line at the Talbot's Outlet is always long, and everyone chats. I got into a discussion with the two women in front of me - The Outlet has changed some policies, which upsets everyone, and there aren't as many bargains, the stock is really tanking right now (down to $3 a share today!), the company is trying, can they survive this downturn, etc. And why aren't they marking stuff down the way they used to? Well, the woman in front of me says, at least you have your extra 30% off card, right? D'oh! No! I don't! I left it at home. They actually sent two cards, and the woman two people in front of me says, oh, shoot, I just gave my other card away. Oh, that's ok, everything I'm getting is so cheap, I replied. Except the boots......

The checkout counter is a big island, two sides, and we all stepped up to our respective cashiers. I quizzed my woman - well, this is 75% off, right? And this 30%? And did that ring up right? And I was frowning at the boots - that extra 30% off eating at me - when the woman two in front of me whips around the counter and passes me her 30% card, then runs back and finishes checking out! Thank you, I mouthed at her, and she winked at me. I can feel ok about tall brown boots at $42! We finished our purchases and I met her on her side and passed her card back to her - thank y0u! She said, oh, it was the boots. I couldn't let you put them back. Plus I need the good karma of a good deed. And with a smile and a wave, she was off.

It might just have been the chatting, but I think sympathy for the pregnant lady played a part.

Then, after striking out at the futon place, I stopped by the Lord & Taylor - they've been advertising a massive consolidation sale, and I was curious. Well, it looked like it was all of their unsold summer/early fall merchandise, all marked down at least 50% off the lowest marked price. I scored two pairs of Robeez shoes for $6 each. And lined crocs for E for $9.00! And Rich's favorite dress shirts were $18! So I went and stood in line, and the woman in front of me asks the cashier if they accept the 15% coupon on the consolidation stuff. They do. And yes, I also have not loaded those coupons in my bag yet, either, darn it. The woman and I had been chatting about the coming baby, and so what the heck, I asked - um, are you going to keep using your coupon? She replied promptly, I am, but I'm happy to stay here and wait while you use it, too. So another extra 15% off.

The shopping karma was strong with me today. Ooh, plus another friend sent me a 30% off coupon for Old Navy, and they have the best deals on tights, so after buying those E is finally set for cold weather clothes!

I'm going to need to do some good deeds in the future.

Now where can we get a good deal on a nice futon mattress????

- Susan

(ps. I've been doing the last few posts - I forget to sign mine!)
(pps. I still might return the brown boots. The Outlet's new policy is 30 day returns.)

Thursday, November 13, 2008

hanky-bank

So who knows how her mind works. But, we don't give piggy back rides in our house. Nope. Hanky-bank. Her choice, her words.

And no, sadly Mommy is not giving any hanky-bank or other types of rides these days, nor in the near future.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Veteran's Day

Since Susan hijacked the blog a week ago, it's now my turn. But for more personal reasons.

I have a tremendous amount of respect for our military. I spent the first half of my career as a contractor for both the Navy and the Army. Even though I never served in the military, I have the utmost respect for those that have served and continue to serve. One of those people was my Grandfather Wysocki.

Anthony W. Wysocki , WWII veteran, passed away just over 2 years ago at the ripe, old age of 95. He was a very proud man who did things his way and was generally successful -- from working in his garden to managing his finances. His parents came over on the boat from Poland, and he grew up in the Hell's Kitchen neighborhood of NYC. The only boy and youngest of 6, he was proud of going through the school-of-hard-knocks and achieving all he had in life with only an 8th grade education. He survived the Great Depression, was married for over 60 yrs, and had two boys. His marriage to my grandmother and his two sons were the things of which he had the most pride. But he always had a special place in his heart for his service to his country.

He married my grandmother, from an Austrian-German family, in 1939 - just 4 days before the Nazis invaded Poland. (What was THAT wedding reception like?) Four years later, in Oct 1943, he was called to active duty into the Army and had to leave his wife and 18 month old son (my father) to fight in Europe. He served as a medical technician in the 126th Evacuation Hospital (like a M.A.S.H. unit). He assisted the doctors in more of the mundane types of tasks necessary to run a mobile hospital unit -- cleaning, packing, unpacking equipment, disposing of medical waste (e.g., limbs), etc. He was always proud of what he learned from the doctors and would always claim that the medical officers said to him prior to his discharge after the war, "Wysocki, you should go to medical school." To which he replied, "No thanks. I have a family to get back to."

He arrived in France in March 1945, about 9 months after the invasion of Normandy. His unit traveled throughout France, Belgium, and Germany. They were never directly involved in any engagements, but did tend to thousands of soldiers. They ultimately ended their travels in April 1945 in Gera, Germany when the War in Europe ended. In February 1946 he was honorably discharged with the rank of Tech Sergeant.

Grandpa would always have a twinkle in his eye when asked about his military service. If you wanted to hear stories, he was glad to tell you some. My Dad & uncle say that Grandpa would tell some pretty gory/gruesome tales, but he never did to us grandkids. But, given the status of medical science at the time, you can just imagine some of the stuff he did and saw.

The only time I got a comprehensive story out of him was for a report I did in 6th grade: "Interview with a World War II Soldier: My Grandpa Wysocki." I interviewed him using a script of questions from my social studies teacher, used a tape recorder for the interview, and typed up the report on a typewriter. When I was done, I gave him a copy. He treated it like a prized possession. He told his friends and relatives about it. He talked about it all the time with our family, even when I was in my 30s. I think he mentioned it the first time he met Susan.

Last year, after my grandmother passed away and my family went through my grandparents' belongings in their house, I sought out and found a box of memorabilia my grandfather kept about his military service. There were his enlistment papers, discharge papers, uniforms, and the report I wrote in 6th grade. I have it next to me -- I used it to recount his travels above. It's very touching that he kept the report & his papers -- in pristine condition. It is somewhat of a representation of the unique connection I had with my Grandpa. No one in the family got him quite the way I did. I only wish I had spent more time with him.

I try to honor my grandfather and remember on Memorial Day and Veteran's Day those who served our country. I'm lucky to have had my grandfather for as long as I did. Many families have lost those they loved in the service to our country. My thoughts and prayers go out to them and to those who continue to defend this country.

- Rich

Monday, November 10, 2008

Princess of Stall

I really enjoy the bedtime routine. It's 45+ minutes each day that I have with E to myself. Very good bonding time for Daddy and his daughter.

But, there are days when that 45+ minutes gets stretched way too far. E is very adept at stalling with Daddy. She can easily stretch the routine to an hour and still be revved up to stay up longer. (like tonight when it took an hour to get her into bed and she stood there jumping in the crib wanting us to talk to her some more) It's a simple formula from the time we come upstairs to the time we walk out of her room and turn off the light:
  • Potty
  • Bath
  • Towel off
  • Pajamas
  • Brush teeth
  • Storytime
  • Prayers
  • Bed
E has pretty much figured out how to stretch things in each stage of the routine. And, I guess, I'm a sucker for it. Potty & bath tend to take the longest, mostly because she enjoys talking, singing, reading on the potty. That can be 15 mins alone. The bath can take 15+ mins. She used to be a real trooper washing her hair, but she really finds ways to delay it now. Inevitably, she'll get some water in her eyes, which brings about the complaint "My eyes! My eyes! Don't get it in my eyes!" And can also bring about some serious crocodile tears. And with all the toys in the bath, there's no shortage of things that can distract her. She really likes using her plastic drum as a pot/bowl to "make a meal" for Daddy. Sometimes the meal gets spilled out of the tub. One time, Daddy stupidly let her take her meal out of the tub. The meal contents were subsequently deposited on the hardwood floor in the hall. (There was most definitely yelling/crying at that event).

She'll do any sort of things to delay the pajamas -- she always gets her choice of pajamas to wear. We'll lay out the towel and have a "picnic." We would put lotion on her when she was a newborn/infant, but she's outgrown that. Now she wants a "karate chop' (shiatsu?) massage.

Brushing teeth is almost always a struggle. Mommy did very well a few weeks ago convincing E that she needed to brush the Little Einsteins or Backyardigans out of her mouth. Mommy also made it a game to "get the toothpaste first" but both tactics have grown less effective. Now Daddy just fumes as the clock approaches 45 mins and the teeth haven't been brushed, the story not read, and the prayers not said.

She picks her story, which is usually straightforward, and occasionally negotiates for a 2nd one. It's usually not too difficult to skip the 2nd story and get her in the crib, though is helps to be able to lift her high enough so that she doesn't use her little monkey toes to grip the side of the crib. (You'd need a crowbar to pry them off.) She used to be good about saying the prayers but, over the past several weeks, has taken to letting Mommy & Daddy do the work.

So what's your bedtime routine? Does your little one(s) have specific stall tactics? Any suggestions on how to expedite things without causing WWIII? Am I enabling this behavior and just need to "toughen up"?

- Rich

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Carving the pumpkin

Well, our halloween pumkin is in the trash after warm, humid weather led to a gross moldy mess on our front stoop. But thought I'd post some pics from the carving.


Saturday, November 8, 2008

Happy Birthday Zoe!

We went to a very nice party held in honor of E's friend Zoe's 3rd birthday. We got there a little late (of course) but just in time to climb aboard a fire engine and check things out. Then lunch, cake, and, woo-hoo, the moon bounce!

It was good seeing everyone today. It continues to amaze me at how these kids are all growing up. And how they are all becoming older siblings. What's in the water around here anyway?




On board the truck with Eamon and The Madill and The Lowe.










Sweetpea driving the fire truck. Ding-ding! Wooooooo!




Daddy lovvvves the moon bounce! When Mommy said it was "adult size," it was all over. Seen here being tackled by David, Eamon, and Zoe. E wasn't too pleased that I was playing with the other kids, but she soon got into the swing of things.


Daddy even got in a couple flips like the old days. Many of the other Moms & Dads got into the moon bounce as well. Best moment had to be Laurie upending Eamon. Completely knocked him off his feet. Also enjoyed any of the other times that the kids were tackling each other. They really had a blast.

Happy Birthday, Zoe!

- Rich

Edit:
In watching the Boston College - Notre Dame game tonight, one of the tv commentators busted out with a Kermit the Frog impression. Not bad, but he's got a long way to go.

Friday, November 7, 2008

emones

The other morning Elizabeth had a minor freak out. I want emones. Where are the emones? EMONES! (pronounced like anemones, with the a-nem changed to just em: em-o-knees!!!!)

I tried asking - what do you want? EMONES! In increasing decibels, force, and enunciation of each nonsensical syllable.

I tried the whole, I don't understand you, what do you mean? No luck.

She's actually pretty verbally adept, so it sometimes work if we say, describe what you mean. She gained a measure of control and thought for a second - remember, I dropped them yesterday?

Oh! Right! M&Ms! She found a bag of M&Ms I had bought after Halloween and spilled part of the bag the day before (and scored some M&Ms). And now was demanding more. For breakfast, no less.

I gave her 5 emones today - she proceeded to lie them up with the imprinted M turned sideways and said, look mommy, all e's. All E's for Elizabeth.

So tell me, do you make a new family word out of cute toddler pronunciation, or do you teach the right word?

Or, better yet, maybe I stop buying day after holiday cheap candy. My weakness!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Game Day

Before getting to this post, please check out our Halloween post.

Last Saturday Daddy took his little girl down to Charlottesville to see our beloved Wahoos from the University of Virginia take on the Miami Hurricanes. The Hoos ended up on the short end of things, 24-17 in overtime, but it was a great day for Daddy and his little girl. No traffic heading down in the morning for the noon kickoff, which included 1+ hour nap for E. Got to the game after kickoff, but we weren't in a big hurry. It was sunny and warm -- an absolutely gorgeous Fall day in Central Virginia.

E was spectacular. She really behaved well. It was surprisingly sunny, and Daddy forgot the sunscreen, so she spent a good part of the time with her head on my lap and Daddy's hat covering her face. I thought she might nod off, but when there was something exciting going on in the game, she would ask to stand up or be picked up so she could see what was happening on the field. Daddy was bursting with pride.

Before we get to the pictures, a little story. A few weeks earlier in Oct, we spent Sat & Sun with some old college friends of mine and their kids. 5 boys between the ages of 4 1/2 and 9 yrs. And E was the only girl. UVa had a good day scoring 5 touchdowns. After each touchdown the Virginia faithful engage in a tradition known as singing the "Good Ole' Song." This is a song to the tune of Auld Lang Syne where people put their arms around one another and sway back and forth while singing. This really intrigued Elizabeth and asked several times in subsequent weeks for Mommy or Daddy to sing the Go Hoos Go song.

Fast forward to this past weekend. So UVa scores a touchdown and we sing the Good Ole Song. E listens intently. A little while later, UVa scores again.

Daddy: "Ok, baby girl, time to sing!"
Sweetpea: (* incredulously *) "Again?!?!?!"

And now for the pictures:



Getting a hand from a fan at the end of the 1st Qtr








Heading down to the picnic area at the half.








Making friends.








Sweetpea and her biggest fan








Sun 'n fun in the stands.








Hitting the road.






Quick stop at Horton Vineyards winery. (No, Daddy didn't do any tasting.) How about that scenery?







A tired little girl getting some sleep on the ride home.
Thank you for a wonderful day, Baby Girl.




- Rich

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Dipsy doodle

I don't know why it's called a dipsy doodle, it just is. And she loves it.
video

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

yes we can

I'm hijacking the blog. Sorry Rich. I just want to be able to remember this. Fireworks are going off in the neighborhood. Gee just called in tears of happiness.



I was undecided early in the year. As a woman's college graduate, I felt I should be supporting Hilary. But yet. And then I saw this video. Yes we can. Not because Wil.I.Am or John Legend or Kate Walsh say so, but because of Barack Obama's words in a concession speech.

My favorite link of today - I Didn't Vote for Obama Today.

And, just a challenge - do you know all the past presidents of the United States in order? I sure don't.

McCain is giving a very nice concession speech. And reminds me of the McCain I might have voted for. Not the McCain that's been campaigning these past months.

Hopefully not TMI

But the blog is the perfect place for baby update, right? Well, 37 week appointment today. Baby is still measuring big, cervix is tightly closed, and he's riding high with no signs of dropping. Exactly the same as with Elizabeth. Doctor looked me in the eye and said, ok, so you know this baby is not coming through this pelvis, right?

I've had that feeling all along. 20 days.

Monday, November 3, 2008

nice football players?

Somehow with NaBloPoMo, recent posts have been more about me than the Sweetpea. So just a short blurb today.

Between Halloween, a football trip to Charlottesville, and daylight savings, we had quite the interrupted weekend of sleep. Saturday night, Rich and I were, what else, watching a college football game when she popped awake - wide awake - at 10 pm. She wanted a drink, so for the first time ever we let her come downstairs and sit with us for 30 minutes or so to let her finish some milk and get a little drowsier before putting her back down.

So she cuddled between us, chatty and happy, and watched some football. Mommy, did that man get hurt? And indeed, there was an injury on a play. I explained that, and she asked if tackling hurt players, so I tried to explain they wore pads and big uniforms and to watch, when they were tackled they got right back up. And then I started some play-by-play with her - see, the man is about to get the ball, now he's going to throw it, and that man will get tackled.....

The whistle blew, and players stepped out of formation. She said, what happened?

I explained they called a time out.

Oh, she said. Were they not being very nice?

Sunday, November 2, 2008

The Return

We had a whole list of possibilities lined up for today's post - Halloween, football, a few funny sayings - but a string of coincidences led to joyous news for us today.

In May, we were devastated when our favorite restaurant, Louisiana Express, closed. I'd been going since I moved here in 1993, and had introduced Rich to the delights of this semi-dive hole in the wall place. I used to live pretty close, and there was a period of time when we went almost weekly - the first and only place we've ever been regulars. It might have helped we always got the same thing - me, crawfish etouffee and a Crimson Voodoo and Rich, blackened london broil and Blackened Voodoo. And no green onions sprinkled on for garnish. The brunches were awesome (me - poached eggs Sardou, Rich, Po'Mans breakfast), and our annual Mardi Gras party was not finished until the big gathering the next morning rehashing all the gory details from the party. We knew the place was in trouble last winter when they lost their liquor license, but we, and they, held on until May.

We'd heard on various blogs that our favorite waiter Carlos and the chef were trying to re-open and were scouting locations, but hadn't heard anything in months, and I was constantly moaning about missing the place. We've tried to curtail dining out recently and yet Louisiana Express's reasonable prices would have still fit in our budget - not weekly, but still regularly.

So, the coincidences:
- Last week we got an e-mail from Hard Times with a deal this week on 4.99 chili. Awesome, we thought, we'll get takeout chili on Friday.
- Called Friday, special was just on eat in. So we decided ok, we'll go out Sunday night.
- Hard Times has a variety of locations, and it's a toss up if we go to Arlington or Bethesda. We decided Bethesda.
- We can never remember the right street in Bethesda, so we turned down one street, nope, not right, turned the corner on another, hmm, not right either.
- On my side, I notice a sign - grand opening, Louisiana Kitchen. Hmmm. There is something familiar about the font......
- I crane my head and body all the way around (not an easy feat at 37 weeks) and Rich drives past - Hey, I think that's Carlos in the window!
- Rich lets me out to investigate. I look at the menu posted outside. OMG, it's identical to Louisiana Express's. I rush in. There behind the bar - Carlos! Who greets me like an old friend, asks about Elizabeth, notices the pregnancy, we chat about them opening. I say, you have no idea how excited I am! Couple at the bar laughs and says them too. Carlos gives me a takeout menu, and I say we'll be back!
- I walk out arms raised in victory. Climb in car, and Rich says, we don't have to go to Hard Times, you know.
- D'oh. We don't. We HAVE to go to Louisiana Kitchen.

Yes. We had our usuals. Sadly there's no more Blackened Voodoo to be had (ever since Katrina - though Crimson has been hard to find for a long time). But Rich had an Abita TurboDog, so he was happy.

Louisiana Kitchen. Yum.

We'll be back.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

NaBloPoMo


Happy National Blog Posting Month!

30 posts, 30 days. Made a little bit difficult by a big life change due near the end of the month, but between Rich and me, we should be able to do it. And maybe I can configure my iphone to be able to post from the hospital? (hospital food = still bad). I think one of the tricks of NaBloPoMo is not to be boring. Along those lines, my mom's group friends (see blogroll on the right) have decided to include a little friendly competition.

I would post some Halloween pics, but R and E are off to UVA today for the Miami game, while I get the day to myself. My goal - to have a little fun, declutter a little, and just relax. Halloween was a wee bit exhausting for this 8.5 month pregnant 40-year old.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy Halloween!!!

Elizabeth has become a huge fan of trick-or-treating. Probably has something to do with her complete addiction to candy and chocolate. And she hit the trifecta today. Party at Luchy's in the morning. Trick or treat at Daddy's work in the afternoon (which she's been asking about for over a week). And hitting the neighborhood at night.

Here's our little cowgirl with Mommy who decided to stick it at home and dish out the goods to the kids.


And our little cowgirl again getting ready to hit the block with Elvis.

This was one tired little girl after today. Especially walking our block.

But she learned a new trick at Daddy's office. Daddy's building has 6 floors. After the 1st two, there were only a handful of offices giving out candy. So we went to the 6th floor and worked our way down. The woman in the first office we visited went ga-ga over E's costume (the pony was a pretty big hit). E said "Trick or Treat" took her piece of candy and said "Thank You."

Then the woman says, "Would your horsey like one too?"

E's face absolutely light up. And a light bulb lit up over her head. And I'm not talking figuratively here. A friggin light bulb appeared and lit up over her little head!

"YES!!!"

We go to the next office. And the routine changes:

"Trick or Treat!"
"Oh what a cute little cowgirl. Are you a sheriff? Here you go."
"Thank you." (* pause *) "Can I have one for my horsey?"
"Oh, why sure!"
(* grin *) "Thank you!"

And that's how my little Sweetpea got double the candy at Daddy's office. I'm going to let her negotiate all of my deals from now on.

- Rich

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Whassup??!! Genius!

Remember this?



Of course you do. And if you knew Rich (and Ryan) 8 years ago, you know they spent MONTHS screaming whaaaasssssuuupp??!! at each other. Heck, they'd probably still do it today if not separated half a world away. Though it has been supplanted with 'chowda!' which is a story for another day (perhaps during NaBloPoMo when we need old stories to post).

Anyway, yesterday I saw something so genius, that despite my private promise to myself not to get too political on this blog, I had to post.



Frigging GENIUS.* If you know me, you know I value the clever almost over ideology (almost!). And this is clever. SAME actors. Closely hews to original script. Hits ALL the hot buttons - foreclosures, Iraq, stock market, health insurance, global climate change and response to disasters - and CHANGE. Appropriately for each character. And did I mention same actors? Brilliant.

In other political news, you may remember that E early on learned to identify Barack Obama, helped a bit by Gee and me. With a little encouragement from Rich, she got John McCain down, too. Last week, while watching the news, she looked up at the TV and said hey, that's Sarah Palin! She did it again this week. First, we definitely watch too much TV. But believe me, no one in this house has been encouraging her to id Palin. She caught on entirely on her own.

On the one hand, as the mother of a girl in 2008, this is sort of the dream, right? The equality dream? Where it is perfectly normal in her worldview to see women and men and people of color doing perfectly normal things like running for the highest offices in the land. What's normal on TV for her is vastly different than it was for me 30+ years ago, and, yeah, that's a good thing. On the other hand......well, it'll all be over soon.

Joe Biden appears to have made no impression whatsoever.

*Edited to add: Aha. Of course just a little digging turns up the history of this viral video. In another coincidence, Rich, Ryan and I went to see Drumline when it came out. Ryan and me to indulge our inner band geek, of course, and Rich to laugh at us. This guy is a genius.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

38

All our birthdays are lined up right in a row, 4 weeks after each other. First Gee in July, then me in August, Sweetpea in September, and Sunday Rich hit the big 38. If all goes as planned, in 4 weeks the new little guy will follow nicely.

However, one of my friends just had her baby 2 weeks early. When I was pregnant with E, a neighbor had an emergency c-section 1 month early, which galvanized us to finish painting the room, buy diapers, get a carseat, etc - just be prepared. We're not so prepared this time around, except that we are since we have so many hand me downs. A box of diapers and a little decluttering and we'd be fine. Still, it's wasn't much comfort to hear the doctor yesterday say I was measuring big. However, I measured big with E all the way through, and she was a week late. 60% of second babies come after the due date.

Anyway! This is supposed to be a birthday post! Happy 38th birthday Rich! If this is the smooth, unblemished, untouched by troubles face of three, I guess 38 shows just a wee bit more living?




Monday, October 27, 2008

Careful What You Do & Say

I've heard the saying that kid's brains are like little sponges, seeking out and absorbing the tiniest increments of knowledge that they can find. I've always been impressed by E's ability to grasp things that we say in her first 3 years of her life. But her ability to use things in context and to remember people/places/things/phrases/concepts and reuse them just amazes me. It used to be that I could track or at least narrow down from where/whom she picked up stuff. Not anymore. I was surprised to hear her create different lyrics to songs but maintain the proper rhythm and rhyme. Could be Mommy, or Daddy, or the #!%@ Backyardigans. In the "not so cute" side of 3, I'm not entirely sure where she learned how to yell "Get out of here!" or "Don't touch me!". Or half the gibberish and screams she makes. Probably some little boy corrupting my darling little girl. I clearly have my work cut out for me.

Then there's what she gets from dear, old (1 yr older to be precise) Dad. Consider this an update on the latest voices I've added to my repertoire. Next post though will not involve voices. Promise.

Grover's my boy. Apparently, I do Grover pretty well. So well, that Sweetpea won't take a bath without talking to Grover. Or get dressed without Grover. Or eat breakfast without Grover. You get the idea. And if Grover is singing a song on the CD that's playing, she has to ask Grover questions. As long as Daddy doesn't sing with Grover. That doesn't make sense.

What's a guy supposed to do when his little girl asks "Can I talk to Grover, pretty please???" I think we all know the answer to that. Besides, Grover is one of my favorite Muppets. I like doing Grover, and Kermit, and, yeah I think I do him pretty well. But, I was a little skeezed out by finding the following site when searching the Web for a decent image to use in this here blog:

Grover's MySpace Page

These social networking sites are clearly out of control.

Maybe I should start a separate blog for Awww Voices, akin to our other site Awww Clutter (shameless plug). I could post the latest voices that I've done. Nah.

The next voice though is a real curiosity. I don't know why, but when giving Sweetpea a bath last week, this song just popped into my head. And I started singing it. With a really bad female, British accent. But that doesn't stop E from asking for it every night now:






Yep. Daddy does Mary Poppins.





More specifically, Daddy sings one verse of "A Spoonful of Sugar" with what will hereafter be referred to as the "worst Julie Andrews impersonation ever." Still, E loves it and asks for the song by name. It took her awhile to be able to say Mary Poppins ("What's your name again?"), but she seems to have the hang of it now. And she doesn't seem to mind that I don't sound very proper, British, or female. Don't you just love kids? We'll see how she feels after seeing the movie in a couple years. Those chimney sweeps are too freaky for a 3-yr old. Though, I probably do a much better cockney Dick van Dyke.

And, thankfully, it does not appear that Mary Poppins has a MySpace page. I don't have the courage to check Facebook though.

Oh, and to Thrift Store Mama, all I can say is, "You had your chance to make your requests!"

- Rich