Saturday, December 20, 2008

Just a good ol’ boy…

I have traveled (and lived) all over this great country of ours. Each region of the United States has its benefits. Beauty can be found in every state. That being said, I am glad that Max was born in Tennessee.

“What’s so great about Tennessee?” you ask. Aside from things like the Smokey Mountains, southern BBQ, biscuits and gravy and SEC Football, I would have to say southern accents. I love the way people talk in the south.

I know that my son is only a year old but I can already detect the “twang” in his speech. For instance, we were watching Alabama play Florida in the SEC title game a couple of weeks ago. Max and I were sitting on the living room floor playing with some big Lego blocks and glancing at the television. I was trying to get the little fella to say football. He can’t quite get the “foot” part down, but he has mastered the word ball. Only when Max says it, it doesn’t come out “ball”. It is a full blown, southern “baawwl”. Like most Tennessee boys the word ball practically has two syllables. When he says "hi" or "bye" he sounds like Holly Hunter's character in the movie "Raising Arizona".

He won't be truly southern until he utters his first "Y'all". Nevertheless, I should probably start saving up to buy him a pickup truck.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Happy 1st Birthday!


I can’t believe it has been a year already. You have grown so much in these last twelve months. I have grown, too.

I remember the moment you were born like it was yesterday. I had prepared myself for changing diapers and taking care of a baby. I was not prepared for the rush of emotion I would feel the first time I saw you. I didn’t know I could have such love for someone I had just met. I haven’t wanted to be away from you since that day.
Your smile and laugh brighten my day. I never get tired of hearing you say “DaDa” or watching you figure out things for the first time. I look forward to seeing what the next year brings.

You make me proud to be a Dad. I’m lucky to have you as my son.

I love you.


Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Anybody need a kleenex?

The other night Shannon and I were sitting on the couch watching our son play on the floor. He was jabbering and checking out everything. He crawled around the back of the couch and suddenly got very quiet. We knew he must be up to something. He had discovered a box of tissues on the end table. Sometimes the simplest things are the most fun.

I have always told myself that I won't be one of those parents that lets their children run wild. This was just so stinkin' cute that I couldn't help but chuckle. He was having so much fun that I didn't have the heart to stop him.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

My Favorite Time of Day

Shannon and I have been very blessed to have a baby that goes to sleep at an early hour and sleeps through the night. Like clockwork, my little boy is ready for bed at 6pm. The problem for me is that I don’t usually get home before six o’clock. Many nights I get home only to find my son fast asleep in his crib. It always makes me a little sad that I didn’t get to see him before he went down.

In the last couple of weeks he has waited for me to get home before retiring for the night. (I suspect his mom might be letting his bath go a little longer these days.) Max is still ready to go to bed when I get there, but he is awake enough for a smile and a giggle when I walk in the house. I put down my things as quick as I can and then snatch up my baby boy.

He and I will catch up on our day and maybe wrestle for a minute. That is usually when Shannon gives me the “evil eye” and says, “You DO know it’s bed time, right?” That is when we head off to his room with a warm bottle.

I sit in the rocking chair with baby Max in my arms. I turn on the iPod player loaded with baby music and hand my son his “feel good” blanket. The feel good blanket is one of those small, swatch blankets with all the different shapes and fabrics sewn to it. Max likes to rub the corduroy triangles with his index finger while he falls asleep.

For the next 15 or 20 minutes he and I sit in the dark, Max drinking a warm bottle, listening to the soft music and gently rocking. It doesn’t take long for him to drift off to sleep. (Sometimes it doesn’t take me long either.) Even after he has nodded off, I like to hold him and relax for a few minutes.

I can’t think of a better way to end the work day.

Diaper Baby

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Our Little German Baker

Last month was World Culture Month at Max's school. Each class studied a particular country throughout the month and the festivities came to a close with a parade through the parking lot at the end of the month with each class dressed as members of their respective country. Max's class represented Germany and it's renowned bakers famous for their Pat-a-Cake skills. In addition to wearing the hat, Max is also now proud to demonstrate how he can clap his hands together!

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Decoding Baby Talk

I really enjoy the weekend because I get to spend so much time with Max and Shannon. This past weekend was no exception.

Max is ten months old and developing quite a little personality. He is very happy and getting more vocal everyday. He hasn’t said anything that would “technically” be considered his first words. He did say “Da Da” when pointing at me. At first I was excited, but then I noticed quickly that he also says it when pointing to the lamp, window and the dog.

We recently began this fun game called “Test Dad’s Knowledge on Household Items.” It starts with Max pointing at something and uttering “uttsat”. I interpret this to mean “What’s that?” I quickly answer “ceiling fan” (or whatever I think he is pointing at.) Max then responds “huh?” I repeat myself slowly and clearly “ceiling fan”.

Satisfied with my answer (the second time) he points to another object and we begin the process again. The game can last anywhere from a few minutes to an hour. It usually ends when we come across something that’s flashes, beeps or sings a (nauseatingly) cheerful song about shapes or animals.

Besides quizzing his father, Max has also begun responding to questions of his own. He has a book about dogs that he likes to read. Big dogs, small dogs, clean dogs sloppy…blah, blah, blah big ears floppy. (Can you tell I have read it a time or two?) There is a part in the book where a puppy says “Arf, Arf!” and Max loves it when you bark out loud.

Anyway, now when you ask Max what the puppy says, he will respond. He can’t quite bark yet but he will say “Ugh, Ugh” or “Bup, Bup”. It's pretty cute.

With him becoming so aware, I really need to start watching what I say or his first real words could be very interesting.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Our Saviour Owen Meany February 1993 - September 2008

Over 15 years ago, Dan and I were walking around Hamilton Place mall a month or so after we had gotten engaged. We spotted the cutest little shih tzu in the pet store. We played with him a little and then walked back out in the mall discussing if we would get a dog after we married and what kind we might get, etc.
I remember sitting on one of those mall benches dreaming about what we might name a dog when we did get one. We were filled with ideas about the life that we were starting to plan with one another. We agreed that we would get an inside dog. I'd always wanted one but had never been allowed and Dan had always had them at his house.
Dan and I had taken a trip to Florida over spring break earlier that year and during the drive I had read out loud the entire novel A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving. (I guess that was before we even knew audio books existed.) After hearing that high pitched, squeaky bark in the pet store that was way bigger than the dog itself, we agreed that the perfect name for that little puppy would be Owen, since he reminded us both of the little boy with the high pitched, very loud squeaky voice that we had enjoyed reading about in John Irving's novel.

I guess once you name a dog, it's yours. We didn't have the money to buy him, but they approved me to buy Owen on credit (at who knows what interest). So, a couple of hours later we were the proud owners of a black and white shih tzu named Our Saviour Owen Meany. That was our first purchase as a couple. And boy was it a good one!
Those of you who know Owen, know that from the beginning he had personality. He definitely had a mind of his own and opinions about lots of things. He never really liked other dogs too much and didn't care for children either. I always thought that he had a little bit of a short man syndrome and wanted to bully anything that he thought he could. Dan suspected that he probably had bad experiences with kids in the pet store before we rescued him. At any rate, we always worried that it would be a problem if we ever had children.
A few years ago, we decided to take in another shih tzu, Foxxy Cleopatra. I wouldn't say that Owen welcomed her into his home with open arms but he definitely came to love her and I think that her perkiness probably extended his life. He was certainly much more active after we got her.
But while I was pregnant, we discovered that Owen had lymphoma and treatment options were limited due to my condition. He didn't seem to have any symptoms other than the tumors growing below his ears, so, we opted for conservative treatments throughout my pregnancy. Owen was already almost 14 years old.

Once we had Max, Owen seemed to have lost most of his hearing, either because of old age or because of the tumors, and was really unphased by the addition to the family. A blessing in disguise I guess. A couple of months ago it seemed that the tumors were growing again so we began some new medications and he responded positively but we knew our time with him was limited. We agreed that we would do everything we could to give him a good quality of life, but once that was deteriorated, we would not let him suffer.
So, yesterday evening, all of the sudden Owen seemed to have lost most of his vision and became very disoriented. We carried him to bed with us, where he gobbled down his bedtime treats just like always. But when he wasn't any better this morning, and couldn't go for our morning walk, we knew it was time to say goodbye.
Owen lived a very long and very happy life. Dan and I are so grateful for the time we had with him and all that he taught us about being responsible adults and creating a loving home. We can't imagine a life without him and are going to miss him beyond belief. Thanks for sharing in our loss and keep us in your thoughts on this very sad day.
Much love,

Monday, September 8, 2008

Showdown at the MM Corral

I could use several paragraphs to describe what it is like to babysit my son. It is much easier if I just sum it up for you.

Max is mobile.
Max is quick.
Max does not sit still unless he is asleep (even then he squirms a little).

Shannon and I have resorted to what we call the MM Corral. The MM Corral consists of strategically placed couches, loveseats, ottomans and footrests. Like coaches describing an NFL running back, “We can’t stop him…we only hope to contain him.”

The truth is, it works like a charm. We can spend Saturday afternoons playing with Max instead of chasing him.

We should enjoy it while it lasts. It won’t be long before he will figure out how to get out and then we better lace up the running shoes.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

9 Months Old Today!

Can you believe he's 9 months old already? Us, either. We thought time went by pretty quickly before we had Max but now it seems like we blink and he's moved on to a new skill set.

Max has really started to enjoy taking his bath and it's a good thing since he has to have one every day now. His little knees and the tops of his feet get pretty dirty after a full day of crawling around everywhere. His newest trick is pushing things around and he is obsessed with it. He will push anything that moves easily from one end of the house to the other. And I got a report from his teacher at school that he has learned he can push the cribs in his classroom around and he especially enjoys doing it if one of his friends happens to be sleeping in it.

I can only imagine how life will continue to change when he starts walking!

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

New Morning Routine

About four weeks ago, I started going to the gym at night. I come home from work, spend a few minutes with Max as he gets ready for bed, talk to Shannon a little bit and then head to the fitness center for a workout. Aside from being wide awake at 10:00 PM, it is a schedule that is working pretty well.

Because going to the gym together is no longer an option, this week Shannon started doing her workouts at the crack of dawn (about 5:00AM, ughhhhhh!). What this means for me is that Max and I now spend our morning together.
I generally get up by 5:30 so that I can take a shower, get dressed, pack my lunch and let the dogs out before my smiling son wakes up. That’s not a big deal because it’s only about 30 minutes earlier than I would normally get up. I am happy to do it. It gives me some “daddy” time with Max during the week. (Plus, as y’all know, I LOVE mornings!)

About 5:50 or 6:00 AM I can hear Max jabbering on the baby monitor. That is when the fun really starts. I flip on the hall light and slowly open the door to his room. I am immediately greeted by a big smile as the boy peers through the bars of his crib. He looks like an inmate about to be paroled. In the last couple of weeks he has started to do this surprised type “gasp” whenever he sees you for the first time. It is just like the sound you would make if you had been holding your breath under water and had just surfaced for some badly needed air. It’s a total riot!

After some routine hugs and kisses it is straight to the changing table for a clean diaper. This is no easy task now that the boy has become mobile. The second I lay him on the changing pad he tries to flip over and crawl away. It’s like a fun little game we play. Flip the boy over…unbutton the jammies. Flip the boy back over….loosen the diaper. Flip the boy back over…take off the dirty diaper. Then, while simultaneously holding him down with my left arm, I wipe him down and slide a clean diaper under him. Last, but not least, I try to get his feet back in his pajamas while he is kicking like a miniature Chuck Norris.

Next comes Max’s breakfast.

Rule number one for feeding my son is: Do NOT put him in the highchair unless you are ready to feed him. In Max’s world, strapped in = food. Sometimes you can distract him with a wooden spoon to play with, but that will only last for a minute. The longer he waits to eat the more he will grunt and groan. As soon as you get his cereal ready and walk over to the highchair to start feeding him, he will get a big smile and let out another one of his happy “gasps”. Then it is just a matter of scooping and shoveling.

By the time we get done with our breakfast Momma is home and Daddy can leave for work. Another successful morning.

Friday, July 18, 2008

And, we're off!

Max is crawling now. In the span of just a few days he went from being on all fours rocking back and forth to full blown crawling. In fact, he's even started sleeping in the crawling position. He sleeps this way the entire night so that when he wakes up he has huge red blotches covering his knee areas.

With him crawling, there's a whole new meaning to when Shannon says, “Keep an eye on the baby.” Do you have an idea how much ground a 7 month old can cover when he crawls?

To look at him it does not seem that he is moving very fast. Turn your head for a second and he is across the room with one of the shih-tzu’s in a headlock. I am convinced that when I’m not looking, he stands up and runs across the floor.

What that also means for us, is we now have to look at everything less than three feet off of the floor. Especially the stuff that will fit in his mouth. What is funny about that is, when he is in his high chair I can’t pay him to eat a Cheerio. If I throw it on the living room rug, BAM, right in his mouth.

On the bright side, between Max and the dogs, we probably won’t have to vacuum as often.

Monday, June 30, 2008

He gets that from his mother.

We all have that internal clock that tells our body when to wake up. Mine has always had a built in snooze button. Shannon, on the other hand, will wake up at the crack of dawn even when we are on vacation. Without setting the alarm clock, she springs from the bed, wide awake, ready to take on whatever the day has in store. I prefer to ease into the day. I hit the snooze button and then do the math to figure out how much time I will have to get ready. This is not any easy feat considering “snooze” is 9 minutes. (Why did the alarm clock people settle on an odd number anyway? Why not 10?)Early in our marriage this was a source of contention. “How can you sleep away your off day?” Shannon would say. “I can’t! As long as you keep waking me up,” I would reply. She would then proceed to run the vacumn, dishwasher and any other noisy appliance.

Over the last 14 years I have “transmogrified” into a sudo-early riser. Gone are the days when I could sleep until 11 on a Saturday morning. Now, without any alarm or prodding from my wife, I will be up bright and early.

I say all that to say this. “My son is a morning person!” His internal clock is set to wake at 5:45 am. On the dot. (My alarm is set for 5:50 am.) Every morning, just before my clock radio sounds, I hear my young son jabbering on the baby monitor. He is happy and playful. Glad to be awake and ready to start his morning routine. Normally I would be less than thrilled to get up before I needed to, but I can’t get mad when I hear his little voice babbling.

All in all it is a nice way to wake up.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Movie Premiere

It's Max's movie debut! Enjoy!

Friday, June 20, 2008

Father's Day

Any time I get to spend the whole day with my son is special. Somehow, because it was my first “Father’s Day”, last Sunday seemed different. It felt more important. That morning, while I was sitting at the kitchen table drinking coffee watching my son eat his cereal, I started thinking about what it means to be a father.

I am a little disturbed about how husbands and fathers are portrayed lately. Every year we, as a society, are subjected to silly TV commercials that depict the American Dad as a bumbling, mouth breathing, doofus. Father's Day is the day when he gets a new grill or power tool because he managed to screw up his previous one. I am not that guy. Most of my friends are not that guy.

So what do I think it mean to be a father?

It means that I have to work hard. Not only to provide for my family, but to set a good example for my son.

It means that things like motorcycles no longer seem important.

It means that I need to know how to change a diaper, prepare baby food and warm a bottle.

It means that when I play with my son, just like in rugby, I need to be prepared for a poke in the eye, a headbut or an occasional kick to the groin, all without getting mad.

It means I want to live a safer and healthier lifestyle because I don’t want to miss a minute of my son growing up.

It means that I would walk through fire and give my life for my child.

It means that no matter what kind of day I had, when I walk in the door and see my son’s face light up, everything is good.

I could go on for days, but you get the point. It was a good first Father’s Day.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Brick Sighting!

Thanks to cousins Dakota and Jake for confirming that Max really does have a brick at Wrigley Field and that I didn't pay a bunch of money for a brick just to sit on our mantle.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Oh, that crazy Bee ...

Shannon and I watched the Scripps National Spelling Bee last night. Just like the Little League World series, I try and see it every year. Call me crazy, but I just love to watch these young social misfits compete. They stand tall under the intense pressure in an effort to win the coveted trophy and a pile of scholarship money. I think about all of the hours of study and practice (not to mention countless “wedgies” and “noogies”) they must have endured to make it to the national stage. They all deserve to be commended.

Like anything Shannon and I watch involving children, we ended up in a discussion about what part of parenting makes some children driven and successful. “How do these kids get so smart?” Shannon asked at one point. “I think it is because their parents make education and learning the main priority,” I said. “That and they probably aren’t such good athletes with their pants “jacked up” so high.”

Don’t get me wrong, I am not trying to make fun of these kids or belittle their accomplishments. I will be thrilled if Max grows up to be able to spell "guerdon" (a word of Germanic origin that means “reward) like little Sameer Mishra from Indiana. Congratulations Sameer. Great Job!

Being smart is a good thing. I am lucky to be married to Shannon. I know she will make learning and reading a priority at our house. I will do what I can to help. I want my son to get good grades and go to quality schools.

In fact, I hope Max is the smartest person ever to play third base for the Chicago Cubs.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

What is in that breast milk?

Max is getting very close to six months in age. If he keeps growing at this pace, before long he will be the size of a 5th grader. He has also discovered how much he likes to bang his toys on things. It’s like living with Bam Bam off the Flintstones.

You think I am exaggerating, but I’m not. Just the other night Shannon was out at book club. Max and I stayed home for a boy’s only night. (We both really wanted to go to book club but we hadn’t read the book.) Max was getting hungry so I fed him some rice cereal and a jar of green beans. I gave him a small bottle of milk to wash down all that tasty food.

After supper I put Max in the exersaucer to play. Of course, by play I mean banging his fist on the plastic toys in front of him. Soon I began to smell a foul odor. This is the benefit of adding vegetables to his diet. No longer do you have to speculate on weather or not he needs a diaper change. I also noticed a small amount of green bean paste in his right nostril.

To make a long story short, the meal combined with the “overflow”, required me to give him a bath. When he was clean and greased up, I decided to just put him in his jammies. It was already getting close to bed time.

I grabbed a pair of pajamas from the clean clothes stack and laid them on the changing table. After wrestling with flailing arms and kicking legs, I finally buttoned the last (of about 50) snaps. I looked down at my smiling baby boy and realized he wasn’t wiggling anymore. Not because he was getting sleepy, but because he couldn’t budge in his skin tight outfit. He looked like Lloyd Bridges in one of those old Sea Hunt reruns.

“You have got to be kidding me,” I thought. “He just wore those two days ago.” For a second or two I debated getting some scissors and just cutting the feet out of them. But better safe than sorry I always say. We tried on a couple more outfits before we found one that fit.

I guess that is why you see so many babies in just a diaper when you go to Wal-Mart.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

My Little Cubs Fan

It was early in the morning on November 29, 2007. Shannon had given birth the night before. The hospital room was very quiet. My wife was sleeping (with the help of some pain medication) and my new son had just dozed off. I myself couldn’t sleep. Mostly from the excitement of seeing that beautiful baby boy, but also because the fold out couch felt like a burlap bag filled with concrete.

As the sun began to show through the aluminum blinds I did what any proud new father would do. I pulled out the laptop and started checking out my favorite sports teams on the internet. While looking at, the official site of the Chicago Cubs, I noticed a link that said “Wrigley Field Brick Paver Program”. Curious, I clicked on it.

Over the winter they were redoing the sidewalk and ticket area around Wrigley Field in Chicago. For a fee you could purchase a brick and put an inscription on it. That customized brick would be laid in front of the ballpark for all to see. When the project was completed I would be sent a replica of the original paver and given directions on how to find it when we visited Wrigley Field. “This is too good to be true,” I thought. I quickly ordered one with my son’s name on it.

I spent the next few minutes looking into Max’s crib and imagining taking him up to a Cubs game and looking for “his brick”. “How old should he be when I take him?” I thought. “5 maybe 6 years old?” He needs to be old enough to appreciate it. I guess I’ll know when I know.

Several weeks later a small, heavy package arrived in the mail. I had almost forgotten about the order until I saw the Cubs logo on the outside of the box. “Max’s brick is here!” I proclaimed. Shannon looked at me a little funny until I explained what I was talking about. I hastily opened the box and pulled out the heavy block. In plain block letters it said 'Max D. Minninger'. “It’s perfect,” I said.

In a few days I received a letter explaining how to find the location at Wrigley field. It is located under the big, red Wrigley Field sign near the new Ernie Banks statue. How cool is that?

So if any of you make the trip to Chicago, and go to a Cubs game, look for the brick with Max’s name on it. (And then ask yourself, “Why didn’t I bring Dan to the game?)

Monday, May 12, 2008

Max's First Mother's Day

Mother’s Day at our house started out like many other Sunday mornings. Everyone slept in. Of course, by sleeping in I mean when Max wakes up we all get up. I think he made it to 6:30 or 7 o’clock before he was ready for breakfast. I took the dogs out while Shannon fed the baby. He was happy and “talkative” as usual.

I came back in from walking Owen and Foxxy and went in to Max’s room to see how the morning was progressing. Shannon had the baby up on the changing table and was putting on a clean diaper. Swapping clean diapers for dirty ones is getting more tricky as the boy gets bigger. You still have to be ready for a possible “little geyser”, but now he has added kicking legs and twisting to the mix. Sometimes I feel like a ranch hand trying to brand a steer when I change his diapers.

After the diaper change, Max gave his Mom a nice Mother's day card and then had his picture taken with her. We played for a little while and then he slept in his swing. While he was napping I made a big breakfast for Shannon and my Mom. Grampie and GiGi came over after church to eat and spend the afternoon with us.

We all sat down to eat at the kitchen table. (The baby actually sits ON the table in his little Bumbo Seat) We had eggs, bacon, potatoes, biscuits and gravy. Max was apparently hungry, too. He had a bottle, a full jar of carrots and then a bowl of cereal. Wow! The whole time I was thinking “this is going to be bad when it comes out the other end”.

Later that day, Mom, Dad, Max, Foxxy and Owen took a short siesta.

All in all it was a very nice way to spend a Sunday.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

It's a big exciting world ...

Before we had Max I hadn’t really spent much time with babies. Sure I have been around children, but not for any extended period of time. I have casually observed the offspring of friends and relatives grow from newborns into tiny people. This is different. Who knew they were so fascinating? I feel like one of those guys on National Geographic or The Discovery Channel -just quietly observing Max in his natural habitat.

Now that Max’s neck muscles are getting strong enough to support that “coconut” of his, he wants to look at everything. In his chair, in his swing or on the floor his head is on a swivel. The slightest noise and he swings around to see what he is missing.

I particularly like it when he is close enough to grab something. He will hold it just inches from his face and study it very intently. His little brow is furrowed as if he is trying to figure out how it is made. He will twist and pull it. He will shake it and bang it on the floor. When he is satisfied with the quality of workmanship he promptly pops it in his mouth for the taste and moisture test.

Smiling and proud of his new discovery he will hold it up and look at me as if to say, “Have you ever seen anything like this before?” “Why yes, son,” I think, “I have seen one of those before. It is called a drink coaster. Your mother would like it very much if that was under my glass of sweet tea instead of in your mouth.”

I enjoy being a Dad and showing my young son the planet. As he grows I will introduce him to the world as I know it (except soccer). I am going to continue to watch Jeopardy every night so that I will be prepared to answer the inevitable questions that are sure follow.

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

All Boys!

April has been a fun filled month at our house. Max enjoyed meeting his Auntie Carole and his cousins Aaron and Meier early in the month and his Auntie Suzanne and his cousins Cole and Nate later in the month. His little face would just beam at his new found friends any time they came near him. And I think the boys liked having a baby cousin in their midst. Aaron said he wanted to teach him to spit, but we told him he might not be ready for that just yet. Although now that he has his first tooth coming in, it probably won't be long!

We thought he might be starting to get a tooth but with dreaded ear infections, it was hard to tell. But sure enough, we started to feel a little bump this past weekend and yesterday it felt like he had a splinter coming out of his gum. He's very proud, biting everything that even comes near his mouth at this point.

He has really enjoyed trying some vegetables this month, too. So far, he's had green beans, squash, peas, and carrots. He likes them all as far as we can tell. We've been trying to teach him a few table manners and not let him put his hands in his food. He frequently looks just like a baby bird sitting in his seat, leaning forward over the lap tray, arms stretched out to the side like wings, and mouth wide open waiting for us to drop in the good stuff.

We sure are enjoying this stage of parenting. We can't wait to come home from work during the week and so look forward to the weekends when we can all be together. Life is good at the Minninger house.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

4 Month Stats

I just had my 4 month check up and I'm a growing boy! I weighed in at 15 pounds and 13 ounces and am 27 inches long. That's in the 80th percentile for weight and 95 percentile for height. And my doctor said I was big enough to start having some cereal, which I think I'm really going to like! I had a little trouble with the whole "spoon" thing but I'm sure I will have the hang of it in no time.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

I Confess!

Well, Dan is out of town this week so I'll make an attempt to post something myself. I might as well tell on myself before Dan can rat me out anyway.

We went to view Max's 3 month photographs at Irwin Photography last week. Dan and I were both really excited about seeing the first professional photographs taken of our baby boy but I guess I hadn't prepared myself for the full experience. Connie, the photographer, has a beautiful studio very well equipped with the latest technology. So, she sat us down in a viewing room, dimmed the lights, put on the pretty music and projected the sweetest photos I've ever seen! Before I knew it, the tears were flowing. Those of you who know me know I've always been easily brought to tears. Maybe I'm just overly sensitive. Maybe I'm still a little hormonal. Maybe I'm a little stressed with Max being sick and requiring breathing treatments. Or maybe I'm just still completely overwhelmed at how much I love this little boy and seeing such amazing images of him is more than I can bear without a little release! Whatever the reason, I wear my bloodshot eyes and tear streaked face with pride. (And maybe it was just a spec of dust, but I think Dan may have had a little something in his eyes, too!)
There are a couple of other photos posted of Max under the "Worth the Wait" post at

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Do babies really like this stuff?

I am upstairs in the office uploading lullabys and singalongs to iTunes. So far I have input the CD’s “Lullaby Classics” and “Playdate Fun” from Baby Einstein and “Loving Lullabies: 15 Christian Instrumentals” from Cedermont Baby.

“Why on earth are you doing that?” you may ask. I am doing it for two reasons. First, because there is a lot of research that says childrens brains are stimulated by music. Max has an iPod player in his bedroom and I want to fill it with soothing, happy songs. Second, because I do not remember any children songs and I have failed miserably at singing to my son.

Max is becoming very aware of his surroundings. He watches everything and likes to “talk” and interact with people. When you talk and sing to him he becomes very animated. He smiles and coos and kicks his legs. “Great” I thought “I’ll sing him some kiddy songs”.

So I start the first verse of “I’m a Little Teapot”. Now picture this in your head. Max is laying on a blanket on the floor looking up at me. I begin the song “I’m a little teapot, short and stout…” I am doing the arm motions and everything. I get to “here is my handle, here is my spout” and forget the rest. Of course, Max is a baby and he could care less that I am singing “something, something, something, blah, blah, blah”

At that very moment I could hardly remember the words to any song, let alone, one appropriate to sing to my baby boy. I wasn’t sure how to proceed. I can just imagine the look on Shannon’s face if she heard me singing “Breaking the Law” by Judas Priest to my impressionable son. I fumbled through the song and entertained Max for the next few minutes. I vowed to be more prepared for my next performance.

So here I sit learning the words to “Itsy Bitsy Spider” and “Pop goes the Weasel”. This kids stuff is okay. I am determined to work in The Beatles, Stones and maybe some Led Zeppelin too.

A baby can fall asleep listening to U2’s “Joshua Tree” right?

Friday, February 29, 2008

Friday, February 22, 2008

I Dig This Crazy Kid!

I want apologize to my readers for not keeping up the blog lately. I know both of you must have been disappointed. The truth is, I have been working a lot and when I get home all I want to do is hang out with my son.

Daycare is going well. I drop Max off around 6:30 in the morning on my way to work. I don’t mind driving him. We have some nice father/son conversations. Naturally, I do all of the talking. Right now it is still dark that early in the morning and I can’t tell if he is really listening. I can only hear Max jabbering in the backseat. (He is probably just mocking me.)

It is just a short drive to the daycare. We can usually make it in about 8-10 minutes. 99% of the time it is uneventful. There have been a couple of cranky mornings when Max needed a pacifier. On those mornings it didn’t take long for me to master the ability to find his pacifier and then his mouth without taking my eyes off the road and still having one hand on the wheel. I might poke him in the eye or the ear, but eventually the pacifier makes it into his mouth. Then he is usually quiet and content until I drop him off.

We did have kind of an exciting morning before daycare this past Wednesday.

It was about 5:30 am and I awoke to the sound of my son screaming and crying. I mean, red faced, losing his breath, tears streaming down his cheeks crying. I hadn’t heard him squall like that since Shannon clipped his finger while trimming his little nails. (That is a whole other story…he was sobbing, Shannon was sobbing…) Max doesn’t usually get upset like that so I hurried into his room to see what was wrong.

“What is the matter?” I said through bloodshot, sleepy eyes. “I don’t know,” said Shannon, “he has a clean diaper, he slept good. I think he is hungry but he won’t eat and I really need to feed him or pump.” I went in the kitchen to warm a bottle for Max so Shannon could “relieve some pressure”. (I don’t know what PSI her chest gets to, but I bet it is pretty high.)

So I am sitting in the chair holding my crying son. His eyes are red and his cheeks are wet from tears. I put the bottle in his mouth and his wailing softens to a sob. After about 20 seconds I hear a rumble in his little tummy. Just then he lets go with a phttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttt in his diaper. I could feel the fabric pouch filling against my forearm. It was like the Old Faithful geyser. Within seconds a little odor wafted up to my nose. “Peww!” I said. “Buddy, you stink” . He stopped eating and a big smile came over his face. He was happy for the rest of the day.

If only life were always that simple.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Max Goes to Daycare

We reached a bittersweet milestone this week at our house. Max went to his first day of daycare.

The day started out like any other. Shannon was feeding our son in his bedroom while I walked the dogs and got ready for work. When Max was done eating, Shannon changed his diaper and got him dressed for his new “school”. He was wearing soft, terry cloth jammies with feet in them. They were red and tan striped with a fuzzy teddy bear patch on the front. It sure would be nice if we could all wear stuff like that to work and school. I bet people would be a lot happier.

When Max and I were both dressed for our day we began packing the supplies he would need at daycare. There were diapers, bottles, baby wipes, diaper cream and a couple changes of clothes (in case they go to a nice restaurant for lunch I guess). I began to wonder how long he would be at this daycare. We loaded the items in a bag and put our darling son into his car seat. Max was in a pretty good mood. If I were a weather man I would say he was mostly sleepy and partly happy. He would likely turn happier as the day went on. As always, there is a good chance of precipitation. Shannon and Max got in her car. Because I was on my way to work, I followed in mine.

Daycare is not what it used to be. Gone are the days of the sweet little old neighbor lady who would keep kids in her home for a few dollars. Now there are rules and regulations. Forms and procedures. Don’t get me wrong, I am thankful that they are so careful. You don’t want just anyone to have access to your children. It just feels strange to have to punch codes and keypads to drop your son off at daycare. So, as we were standing at the front door punching in the access code to open it, I expected to see Max’s grandmothers hiding in the bushes ready to “spring him” once the coast was clear. (Neither Alice or Ginny were too fond of putting the little man in daycare) I could just picture them in camouflage, faces blacked out like a couple of Navy SEALs.

By the time we finished dropping off the paperwork, learning the drop off/pick up procedure and talking to Max’s “teacher” Nancy, the poor little guy was almost asleep again. Shannon and I didn’t really want to leave. We just kind of stood there looking down at our cute little baby boy. I was thinking to myself, “I wish I would win the lottery so I could just stay home and hang out with Max”. After what seemed like a half hour (it was really about a minute) we left our son in the capable hands of the daycare staff. There was no crying or whining. Not even from Max.

From what I understand, he slept all morning. His Granny Alice showed up a couple hours later to “check on him” and ended up giving him his bottle. After that, I think Max slept until Shannon picked him up in the early afternoon.

All in all I would consider that a successful first day.

Thursday, January 31, 2008

Saturday Morning with Max

Last Saturday morning, after Shannon had fed him, I put Max in the bathtub. His hands and feet were stinky and his second and third chin smelled like sour milk. He needed a good scrub. I ran warm water in the tub and stripped him naked. I lathered him up and scrubbed him clean. (He especially liked it when I was washing his little feet.) Max is happy in the tub as long as we keep warm water on him.

When I was done bathing him I put a clean diaper on him, greased him up with baby lotion and then put him in a new outfit. “Good as new,” I said. He was smiling from ear to ear.

We both went into the living room to hang out. The older Max gets, the more fun he is to hang out with. He is two months old (after 8 weeks you can start giving their age in months) and he is starting to enjoy “playtime”. Playtime is that magical, yet brief, period between breastfeeding, pooping, burping, baths and napping.

I put a soft blanket on the floor so Max and I could stretch our legs. The TV was playing music videos but we weren’t watching. We listened to the songs and Max would “dance” to the music. He would smile and laugh as I sang along to the lyrics. His favorite video of the morning was the song “Low” by the hip-hop artist Flo Rida (pronounced flow rider). He loves songs about big booty! Of course that is when his mother walked in the room.

“What on earth are you singing with my son?!” Shannon says. “Chill Mom,” I say, “that’s his jam. Max is just trying to get his groove on.”

Long story short. I decided we better stick to singing about the ABC’s.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

8 weeks old!

In just the last couple of days, Max seems to have entered a whole new stage of development. He's starting to interact more, noticing everything. Last night, he actually paid attention when I read him his bedtime story. I'll have him writing book reports before long!

Friday, January 18, 2008

A Million Dollar Smile

Last night I came home from work a little bit late. When I walked in the house, Shannon was in the kitchen and Max was in his bouncy seat in the living room. I gave Shannon a kiss and walked into the other room to see my baby boy. He was just waking up from a nap. It was just about time for him to eat. He was starting to whimper a little bit.

I got down on the floor, right next to his seat and said “Hi Max!” He turned his wobbly little head towards me and got this big grin on his face. “Do you think he recognizes me or does he just have some gas?” I said to Shannon. “Of course he knows you,” she said. “He loves his Daddy”. She may have been humoring me. All I know is when he smiled at me, everything seemed right with the world.

Now, I love my wife very much. Our marriage is happy and healthy. We are supportive and make a good team. However, even Shannon will admit that being married to me hasn’t always been a bed of roses. I know that you are thinking, that is impossible, but it is true. Being my wife sometimes has its drawbacks. Early on in our marriage we did not “communicate” quite as well. It was only after I established myself as the head of the household that we were able to start working together. (Shannon wasn’t used to dealing with so much “passion”.) I never thought anything could compare to my feelings for Shannon.

Until my baby boy smiled at me.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

What a difference six weeks makes!

I am not sure what started the conversation but last night Shannon chastised me for not taking any video of our son. Out of the blue she blurted out, “Have you been taking any movies of our son?” “We will be sorry in a few years when we forget how sweet and cute he is right now,” she followed. “I WEAR THE PANTS IN THIS FAMILY AND I WILL DECIDE WHAT AND WHEN I VIDEOTAPE!” I said. Of course, when the words actually left my mouth it sounded more like “yes, maam”. The truth is, although I have not filmed his every movement, I have done my fair share of taping. So when Shannon was putting Max down for the night I hooked the handycam up to the computer. I wanted to download and save what I had recorded. There were several small segments from Max’s entire life (so far). Until you see the images side by side like that, it is hard to believe how much Max has changed.

There is a short clip of Max the day after he was born. His Aunt Donna is holding him. His skin is wrinkly and pink and he is bundled up like a “baby burrito”. Fast forward a few weeks and we see little Max sitting on his GiGi’s lap in the library. He is smiling and looking around. You can tell it is the same baby, but WOW. He is growing so fast.

The other night I came home from work and Max was in the living room kicked back in his recliner ( aka bouncy seat). He was wearing a pair of light blue, footy jammies. As I stood there smiling down at him, something looked a little odd. “I know what you’re thinking…his clothes are getting a little small for him already” Shannon said. “Small?” I thought “if he raises his arms his little legs bend”. We better try a bigger size. “Four days ago the legs were too long” I said. Maybe we should stick to things that are open ended. I don’t want to stunt his growth.

If I can figure out how, I will post some video to the blog. You will see what I mean. For now you will have to live with pictures.