Thursday, August 7, 2014

Oh Snap

So exactly two weeks, we started our hardcore crib training for overnight sleep and like gangbusters it has been brilliant. The kid is 10-12 hours at night. He has an occasional wake up freakout around 3am but it rarely lasts past 15 minutes and only requires a couple of pop-in soothings for him to fall back asleep. And he is putting himself to sleep! Our time on the exercise ball has dwindled to nearly never! A huge shout out to the Wessel and James families for some helpful guidance and our foundation book 12 Hours Sleep by 12 Weeks Old. My wife and I will write our own book titles 10-12 Hours Sleep by 19 Weeks Old and We Didn't Kill Our Baby in the Process.

This new found peace and quiet has led to some unexpected benefits. The kid, being well rested, is in just a delightful mood all day long unless he is getting stabbed at the doctor's office for his shots or the 30 minutes before his bath/dinner bottle/bedtime when he is absolutely exhausted and hungry but we are trying to make him last a wee little while longer. Gunner has been a trooper in these small sacrifices for the good of the entire house...a lesson best learned early.

Playtime with his Lucha-dore...
His first snoball..
 Chillin post pool party...and not playing games either...

Friday, July 25, 2014

Getting Interesting

"Don't worry about him being upset. He is just playing you guys for fools." Words from a wise mother coaching my wife and I to take the next step (we have done well laying the foundation) to crib train our baby and not caving too soon by letting him sleep in our king size master bed after he awakens in the middle of the night.

"Oh my god they're making us look like major sissies!" Words from my wife when multiple friends of ours detailed their crib training experiences. Of course her quote has been censored.

I like to believe we are firm with our baby. We speak direct. We go about our day on a relative straight forward regimen. But in the world of crib training, apparently our feet aren't exactly stomping the ground. Last night, we changed our behavior. Gunner was very upset he had to sleep in his crib, slept 4 hours in his crib, woke up very upset, we consoled him briefly in intervals which was not what he wanted even though it kept him somewhat calm for about an hour, then he slept another 4 hours in his crib til morning. Success? Maybe. He slept for two long periods in his crib. Success. But he didn't put himself back to sleep at 2am though. Fail. And the hour before each 4 hour sleep was the poor child being ripped through the torture and agony of no master bed, no grand family gathering to rest, no "the usual night's sleep", no none nobody at all...just him and his thoughts like solitary in prison. Fail.

So will tonight or the next few nights be better? One can only hope.

From 4 weeks to 4 months...getting big...
 First trip to the museum...
 Gunner's first time truly petting one of the dogs...Maggie was very sweet...
 He is starting to pretend to hold his bottle for 10-15 seconds before poking himself in the eye with it...
 First solid foods...sweet potatoes...
 Taking over Dad's job and office....he can have it...Don't know if St. Margaret's and St. Luke's are ready...

Thursday, July 17, 2014

A New Normal

I find it amazing how tough life can be as we get older.

Last week, a close friend of ours lost her brother unexpectedly, a feeling I am all too familiar with. And it is hard to find comfort when such sadness happens to a family so sweet. I deeply wish them the best. He was a great guy and will always be remembered as such but it is never something to get over or deal with. It is one of those moments that creates a new normal in which we live our lives. And the new normal is never as good as the old one. All we can do is love those we still have and try not to let our hurt or pain effect our ability to love and enjoy all we still have...

This past week we also spent a lot of time with close friends who we haven't seen as much as post-Gunner and some friends in from out of town with their super handsome 1 and half year old. It is so great seeing them and also seeing what Gunner will act like in a year. It also is a sad reminder when good friends live away how much you wish everyone lived together and we could see each other all the time. Growing old and raising kids should be done with all the people you love. Doing it without them is just not as special or as much fun. Lucky for us, we do have a lot of close friends still in town and even one with a baby, Maddox, that Gunner can grow up and have a good bro-mance with as well as some wonderful older kids of friends of ours as Gunner gets a little bigger, he can be the little brat trying to keep up. So while we are extremely lucky and better off than most, we do still miss those that live far away who we wish to see on a regular basis, especially those with some of the cutest kids who we would just love Gunner to grow up and have a close relationship with... his cousin Carter in Oregon, his cousins in DC Mia Amy Henry and Andrew, his cousin Drew in Louisville, the Wessel kids Hunter and Grayson...all super adorable...

But that's not how life works. There is only so much we can control and for those things we can't control, we have just have to figure out how to live with what the universe decides to dish out around us. That is always easier said than done...


Lounging in the pool with his bro Maddox and Uncle Cullan...

And maybe one too many adult beverages...


Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Another Beach Weekend

So to celebrate the 4th of July, we decided to go to beach again. I love the beach. My wife loves the beach. Of course, I found it much enjoyable when I was more physically active and fit. Now I dangerously mirror the old sloppy saggy out of shape rednecks that hover the Gulf Shores beaches like wounded boars sweating awkwardly and wobbling around inappropriately adding zero value to the visual and audible experience of the beach getaway...Luckily, my ginger son is equally as pale and flabby as me these days so I feel upset but not lonely in this regards.

But as for the beach, it was fun but with a newborn ginger, we spend a grand total of an hour in the sun before he must go back indoors to his dracula crypt awaiting his next feeding. The sun drains him like cryptonite on Superman and ruins, yes ruins, his next 12 hours routine. He loves going outside but in small doses, 15 minutes here and 20 minutes there. Anything over 45 minutes and you might as well as call child protective services because he wants the world to know there has a been great injustice against him.

Pale and flabby?!?!?

 Indoor fun...
 With Mom, Cousin Drew, Aunt Kendall...

Sunday, June 29, 2014


So my wife informed me that I can add photos to this blog. So I have. Now every post has photos attached so you will have to go back and read them all again just to see the super cute photos.

Gunner is approaching 4 months old. He is loving the World Cup and the USA doing well so far. He has his second beach trip coming for the 4th of July. Hopefully, we will fair better than the first trip where we drove over 3 hours with an unhappy child (he hates his car seat) to basically do everything exactly how we do it at home just without all the cool stuff we have accumulated at home to make parenting easier. Fingers crossed.

We have been utilizing our swimming pool. We found that taking Gunner in the pool for some fun in the sun in the evening completely wears him out to sleep through the night. Yes you heard right. Gunner sleeps through the night, kind of. He goes down around 9pm and wakes up around 7am, kind of. He does wake up in between but he does not wake up to eat, which means he wakes up and requires a 1 to 3 minute soothing to fall back asleep. This happens 2 or 3 times every night but it is infinitely better than waking up to feed him for an hour in the middle of the night so we will take it! Next step: we are still waiting for Gunner to put himself to sleep. Can't wait for the day.

Best part of having a kid so far: last week my wife and I discussed getting all the awesome Disney and Pixar and animated movies possible to start a family dvd collection! How awesome does that sound?!? This is why people have kids. I watched Toy Story 3 again on Friday night (yes Friday night) and it was just delightful.

Gunner watching a cartoon on a Saturday morning of a leprechaun farting a rainbow...

Gunner in his Official USA kit for the World Cup...

Lounging in the pool...loving it...just get him a beer...

Sunday, June 22, 2014

First Father's Day

A few days ago, I celebrated my first Father’s Day as the father of our son. We have celebrated this day before with our dogs and cat which I find parenting our animals to be 1000 times more enjoyable and rewarding than parenting a baby. They listen, they play, they sleep, they pooh outside…it just works well for everyone. Gunner still does what he wants. But on a positive note, he does it when we say and what he wants is starting to become when we want. But for Father’s Day, my wife had some amazing gifts. Best of all, she drew a kid’s book about Gunner and I for us to read together at night and Gunner loved it! It is super cute and fantastic. It was a good day with the baby.

Also four days ago, Gunner started sleeping through the night from around 9pm and 6am. Of course, this sleep is in a nice safe fort-like area in the middle of our bed. But hey, sleep is sleep….I would never complain about this. He has also mastered the “Sneak In and Cuddle” that I know he inherited from my wife. He somehow magically throughout the night inches right up against me so I can’t move a muscle. My wife has been notorious for this since day one. My dogs and cat also learned this from her. This means that 2 humans and 3 animals somehow try to lay right up against me every night. And people wonder why I look tired all the time!

Gunner is also loving the World Cup. He is watching numerous games all day long, gazing with sheer wonderment and intrigue at the marvel that is futbol! He will definitely be on USA Team for the 2038 World Cup. He loves to chant with dad (when I say chant, I really mean grunt and drool at the same time) I BELIEVE THAT WE WILL WIN for the USA men! GO USA!

Watching Arsenal win the FA Cup...


Friday, June 13, 2014

Too Cute

Okay so I know I stated this post would cover a racy topic. My wife talked me out of it. So instead, the last two weeks I have been a series of nice moments for our now three month old son. He cries less, sleeps longer, smiles more, and grabs stuff. That’s all. Some say that's monumental but I doubt Stanford will admit him on the "grabs stuff" essay he would write. They should admit him on looks alone, dashing redhead with a twinkle in his eye. I mean come on...once in a blue moon.

He has always been a “talker” so he is still yo-gaba-gaba all day long like he thinks someone can understand those grunts and huffs. He has always been a good looking kid, but his monstrous behaviors led to some reservation in bragging about him. But now, I am happy to say we can move him to the official “cute” title. He is a cute little guy.

Is he the cutest little kid around? Not yet, but he is still young and is close. He still has time to take the world #1 ranking. My current top five list of the world’s cutest kids under age 5 is as follows:
1)      My colleague Monique’s little girl. I don’t even know he name but she is so super cute that Disney should make a movie character out of her.
2)      My nephew Carter. He is simply the handsomest kid, better than all three of David Beckham’s little boys.
3)      My cousin Karen’s little girl Amy. She didn’t even like me for two of the three days I visited but her cuteness makes that not even matter.
4)      Gunner. Redheaded and Dangerous.

So as you can see, he is up there but has work to do. That’s okay because he has time. Much like the great Roger Federer at 21 years old, he was bounced in straight sets in the 1st round of the French Open by Luis Horda of Peru. He learned from the experience and won 17 grand slam titles over the next 9 years and has become the greatest tennis player of all-time. Gunner will learn, evaluate, work hard, adapt and improve, and should move up the rankings in time.

Gunner first Facetime with cousin Carter...

Carter at age 1 taking his Senior High School Graduation photo...

Cousin Amy picking blueberries...

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Moving Along

Last week, I discussed the positive momentum of our child transitioning from “demon spawn” to “manageable chore”. Of course, I jinxed us and the next day was murder. But then back on track and there have some interesting developments this past week.

1)      Gunner is finally starting to develop enough stomach acids and enzymes to make food digestion no longer mimic an Oklahoma lethal injection. He now digests in relative comfort. This feat has also led to a substantial reduction in his poops, best described as “going through a small recession”. His 3 to 4 diaper bombs old productivity is now 1 or 2, but it is not close to a full market crash where there is any cause of concern.
2)      My wife had a birthday. Of course, we celebrated the day as much as possible without Mr. I Need to Be the Center of Attention. We went for a couples massage. I must say all new parents need to hop on this asap. Carrying that baby around tightens up everything in the back and shoulders and you need it relaxed out. Of course, just know that all that relaxation goes away in the next 24 hours of holding and carrying and swaying your baby again. But hopefully my wife had a great day.
3)      Gunner managed to watch the very entertaining Champions League Final without disruption…a vital moment in our relationship and I’m not sure we would have been able to recover if he ruined that viewing experience for both of us. Now we have 30 days of daily matches for the World Cup…gauntlet thrown down. Good luck buddy.

Warning: next week’s topic will cover a somewhat inappropriate topic of conversation but one I feel necessary to explore and report.

Watching Champions League with his buddy Maddox...

Monday, May 19, 2014

Oh Yeah

10 weeks old and we finally may have a human child! Until this weekend, I wasn’t quite so sure. Some days I thought “what a cute baby! we are so blessed” and other days were more like “where did this pterodactyl screeching thing come from?!?!” Most days I was convinced we ended up in some sci-fi supernatural psychological prison for our minds…a constant unrelenting swirl of chaos and pain with rare glimpses of hope and cuteness sporadically dangled to only create further despair.

Oh but what a baby Gunner is becoming. This weekend was a series of small victories for the parents that even made me happy.
1) Dad was able to rock him to sleep for the first time. Until now, he only slept with Dad if he was a) already sleeping when I got him or b) cried himself to complete exhaustion. New leaf: turned!
2) He put himself back to sleep when stirred. Until now, if Gunner stirred in his sleep, he woke himself up, then would be very upset that he was now both tired and awake, and he would let us know how unhappy he was. But now, he stirred, woke up, looked around, realized things were still kosher, and fell back asleep. Mountain: climbed!
3) He cried his first grown up tear. Oh yes, Gunner had a Disney cartoon tear drop roll down his cheek. Dad laughed. Mom photographed it. It was great. Our best guess, he was hungry and we were putting socks on him before giving him his bottle. Either way, he looked like a little dude and it was cute. Corner: turned!
4) Gunner had a nice little 36 hour constipation followed by a 3 diaper explosive poop. We knew it was coming soon and it could have been a whole lot worse. Crisis: averted!

It was a good weekend. Crying is diminishing slowly, eating is getting cleaner, sleeping is getting better and longer. Hopefully we can build on this positive momentum, keep things going in the right direction, keep learning and progressing and bettering ourselves….like normal human babies do.

Look at that tear...I mean, seriously...

 King sized bed all to himself, mom and dad on the couch...

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Happy Mother's Day to All

So our “first” Mother’s Day has come and gone. I say “first” because we have celebrated Mother’s Day with our dogs and cat since 2006 but this Mother’s Day was our first with a human baby.

This year has led me to believe ALL mothers deserve praise and appreciation, even if just for child birth alone. But more so dealing with the constant crying and sleeplessness, ALL mothers deserve a lot. Yes, even the psycho mothers. These women deserve far more than any husband or boyfriend or baby daddy will ever be able to provide through 1-800-Flowers or Godiva Chocolates or inappropriate R. Kelly songs. These women deserve bi-partisan unilateral social reform that says “Uncle Sam will help you now so make sure that baby doesn’t grow up to suck later.” Let’s retool federal spending like Section 8, Social Security, Welfare, and Food Stamps to pay for programs more beneficial to new mothers everywhere. Some ideas are:

1)      During pregnancy, all mothers-to-be get prenatal vitamins and specialty coupons to eat healthy foods like fish, fruits, and veggies. Also during pregnancy, they get coupons for exercise classes, mani/pedis, and massages. Put this money back into the economy in a way we all appreciate. Men will not argue this one. Trust me. Just make the math line up.
2)      Post birth, provide a network of overnight nannys that either do home visits or even work at a hotel-like facility where mothers can have sleep-full nights while the overnight shift is covered by a loving, trusting nanny. These are federal employees, screened like CIA agents not TSA workers, who give new mothers 1 or 2 days of sleep every week. The quality of life on both parents will lead to improved work performance and our Gross Domestic Product will benefit to help offset the program costs.

I have been reading a wonderful book “Brain Rules for Baby” by John Medina. It is full of wonderful scientifically backed ways to promote a healthy stimulating environment for raising a baby. One recurring theme is to avoid a lot of the negative stress a newborn baby brings to new parents. I found it amazing how impactful (in a bad way) a baby changes a marriage, any marriage, and all marriages. In our marriage, my wife and I use humor to argue through any unhappiness and it works for us well. But not many couples are so lucky and in these situations, the mother has the most to lose.

3)      Create programs to promote counseling and paternal involvement in parenting would help. No more seed planting and moving on. Everyone suffers through a baby. And after a certain number of kids, sterilize the parents please. We don’t need any more Kardashians. Being a third child myself, I think 3 is a good cut off (after having a kid, I’m really also a proponent of 1 and Done). 4 or more is just selfish. If you can’t get it right by 3, stop trying. And if you think every kid you have is a blessing, then your delusional mental state proves you’re an unfit parent for 1 kid much less multiple children. This goes for men and women. Safety first.

Time to have a backbone America and give a helping hand to the wonderful ladies that endure a lot to ensure our nation has a solid generation to always grow on.

 To the most amazing mom....

Kalli (on the left) and Gunner (right) at 3 months....

I believe that we will win!

Monday, May 12, 2014

Raising a Man with a Plan

So in the first 8 weeks of Gunner’s life, I have come to realize that my strengths as a father are in the moments of productivity with my son and not the “fluff”. Baths, feedings, diaper changes, story time readings with me are best described as transcending moments of joy and enlightenment. However, I do struggle with the fluff moments. Poor Gunner should not look to dear ol’ dad for his upset stomach, fighting sleep, acid reflux, etc. I don’t comfort as well as I produce results in the end game. With that in mind, Gunner and I are crafting his life game action plan. Note: Deviations are allowed only after unanimous approval from Mom, Dad, and all Kids residing at our house.

1)      Learn French and Spanish (doesn’t have to be fluent but have a good working knowledge)
2)      Play the Piano
3)      Play Soccer, Basketball, and Baseball until age 12 then can narrow down to 1 sport if desired (which sport is up for discussion)
4)      Ben Franklin High School Class of ‘32
5)      Stanford Class of ‘36
6)      He can pick his Grad School (assuming he picks wisely…no online schools)
7)      Can’t root for anything LSU while Les Miles is still there
8)      Will have to justify to Dad before not rooting for the Yankees and Saints and Pelicans. If he can  argue well enough, he can root for any baseball team that isn’t the Red Sox, any football team that isn’t the Falcons, and simply can’t root for any NBA team without approval
9)      No drinking until convinced he is smart enough to not die or kill anyone and no sex until convinced he is smart enough to not come home with a baby
10)  Taste in girls will be highly scrutinized which will make sure he respects all women for everything wonderful they offer (but really to avoid the hot but crazy ones!)
11)  No listening to brass bands for fun. Not worth it unless drinking in a crowd

This is list will grow and adapt as Gunner gets older until it molds into a fantastic little autobiography he can be proud of.

The looks of a man who knows what he likes and what he doesn't...

Friday, May 2, 2014

And Now Some Fun

Gunner is now 8 weeks old, the monumental age where my wife and I decided to start sleep training our baby. Oh the joy…forcing an often miserably uncomfortable baby to sleep in his crib, in his room, away from his mother, out of her arms, on a cold mattress, surrounded by prison bars, replacing our voices with generic soft music, and all this for 8 to 12 hours stretches. Yay (in low and drifting tone)!

For this necessary evil, pray for us. As a nice treat, the week prior to is a nice trip to the beach for Gunner’s first road trip and vacation. He is meeting his cousin Drew for the first time who is only 3 weeks older than him. He will have his first swim, first walk in the sand, and first taste of Flor-Bama which will immediately be followed by his first tetanus and penicillin shots. Got to love the redneck Riviera that is Gulf Shores.

Gunner and his cousin Drew...

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Father Son Lessons

In exciting news, Gunner and I can say we are starting moments of positivity. These moments are few but do come bouncing on the exercise ball while I hold him in futile efforts to console him or just to give my wife a break, much to Gunner’s aggravation. It is in these moments that I have started to enjoy the banter between father and son.

1)      Gunner has been calm during soccer matches on television. Usually, after ten minutes of British accents, he even passes out asleep. I’m not sure if he gets that from his mother, who falls asleep immediate during any English Premier League match that isn’t Manchester United, or his father, who falls asleep immediately hearing Lady Mary or Thomas the Footman in Downton Abbey. Either way, I’ll take it for I get to tell him all about clubs and players, tactics and coaches, and of course moan about my poor Arsenal.
2)      I love to explain Gunner the “Wish Creed”. When I am holding him and he is calm but starting to show signs that he wants to start crying and wailing, I simply let him know that I “wish he would start crying.” This either amuses or confuses Gunner as it off prevents the wailing for a good little bit.
3)      I love explaining the good life he has and to enjoy it and not cry about it. He lounges around the house all day with zero responsibility. Others massage him, bathe him, dress him, and feed him without him having to lift a finger. And every 3-4 hours, he gets to eat, take a nap, pee and pooh with no restrictions and have someone else clean it up, and motorboat my wife’s breasts. Sounds like a pretty good setup to me.

4)      We also watch a ton of movies and TV shows where I explain to Gunner that if he doesn’t develop a sense of humor to enjoy Modern Family or the movie Role Models, we will have issues getting along. Also, it’s okay to enjoy Chrisley Knows Best even if you can’t explain why.