Her Own Room

Last night Mel and I got a bit more sleep because we finally put Emma to sleep in the crib in her room. Up until then, we had her sleeping in a bassinet in our room so we could hear when she needed something. We did go to Target to pick up a baby monitor though so we'd be able to hear her in her room though. She made it through the night just fine, as did we. In fact, she seemed to be up less last night. Perhaps the crib is more comfortable, or maybe it's the fact that we are feeding her a bit more than we had been. She doesn't seem to get as hungry as often now.


Catching Up

Becoming a new parent has made me a bit too busy to blog as regularly as I had been, but I have a few minutes now, so I am going to catch you up on what I have been up to. Yesterday I had to leave Mel and Emma to go back to work. Mel's mom is staying with us for a few days; that has been a real help.

Today at work, the math group went out to lunch at the Airliner in downtown Iowa City because it was the last day of one of our coworkers. Actually she has a few days of work left, but they are on a business trip.

Now for what's going on on the home front. Before the baby was born, people warned me about how little sleep I'd be getting once the baby was born. I figured I'd get a bit less sleep, but I didn't realize I'd be feeling continuously exhausted. Hopefully I can catch up on some sleep this weekend, but I have things that I need to get done around the house. I should still be able to find a little time to catch up on my sleep though.


Happy Birthday Mel!

Today is Mel's birthday. Normally we would have gone out to dinner for her birthday, but she wasn't really feeling up to going out, as she just got home from the hospital a few days ago and is still a bit sore. So, I picked up dinner at Biaggi's. It was very good, and the portions were large enough for us to have leftovers later.

Today is also the birthday of Leonard Nimoy, so in honor of his seventy-sixth birthday, here's a short video:


First Night at Home

Well we thought we were ready to bring a baby home from the hospital, but at 11:00 last night, we realized that we weren't as prepared as we thought we were. It was at that time that Emma appeared to be hungry, so we started feeding her one of the bottles of Enfamil that we took home from the hospital. She had had two bottles of Enfamil earlier in the day, and while she drank them without much problem, she didn't seem to like them as much as the Similac that she had previously been given. So when we tried to give her the Enfamil at 11:00 last night, she pretty much refused to take it. Fortunately, the hospital also sent us home with a jug of ready-to-use Similac. However, we soon found out that we only had one nipple for the baby's bottles. So I got to take a trip to Hy-Vee to pick up a few more to hold us over until today, when I will have a chance to do some more shopping. I also have to run a few other household errands today. I know I have to go get these things, but I really don't want to leave my daughter.


Going Home

Emma and Mel got to come home from the hospital today, but before everyone got to leave, Emma got to take a trip to the main part of the hospital. She had to have an ultrasound on her hip. Apparently the doctor had detected a clicking noise coming from her hip and wanted it to be checked out. So before she could be discharged an orthopedist had to check her out. This was the second time she had an ultrasound while at the hospital. A pediatric cardiologist had an electrocardiogram done because there was a slight murmur in her heart. After looking at the results, he wasn't too concerned about it. So around four o'clock this afternoon, we were finally able to go home from the hospital. After we got home, Emma's pediatrician called to let us know that her hip is just fine.


Happy Birthday to the Shat!

In honor of William Shatner's seventy-sixth birthday, I would like to present this short video presentation.


Day 2

Today has been a day of many visitors. My mother stopped by again this morning before returning to Waterloo. Mel's sister and niece came by this afternoon. A former coworker of Mel's also stopped by. And both H and CC stopped by the hospital as well.

Mel's IV was removed late this afternoon, so she has become a bit more mobile. She even got to eat real food for lunch after being limited to liquids for breakfast. I just don't think that chicken broth sounds too tasty for breakfast.

When Mel's sister was here, I had the chance to leave for a short while to finish buying Mel's birthday present since her birthday is on Monday. I had tried to finish my shopping last weekend, but the place I needed to get her last present is apparently not open on the weekend. Anyway, I was able to get right in to get what I was looking for. I hope she likes it.


An Early Arrival

We weren't expecting our baby to be born for another couple weeks, but things changed this morning when Mel's doctor told her she should get to the hospital. This was my week to drive for the carpool, so I had to gather the two others who rode to work with me so I could get back to Cedar Rapids from Iowa City. I had been thinking that I would start driving myself after this week in case Mel went into labor earlier than we thought she would, but I guess I didn't plan that out far enough ahead.

Anyway, once I dropped of my carpooling companions, I stopped by the house to pick up the digital camera and then I headed to the hospital. When I got there, Mel was lying in bed with a heart monitor hooked up to her, listening to the baby's heartbeat. She was pretty sure at that time that the baby would be coming fairly soon, and she was right. Our baby, Emma Mae, was born at 3:53 this afternoon, weighing 7 pounds 1 ounce and being 21 inches long. I can't believe the baby is finally here!

This first photo shows me holding Emma about 10 minutes after she was born.

Next, here's Mel holding Emma a short time later.

And finally, here's a photo of Emma sleeping this evening.


My Dad, UNI Homecoming Chair 1966

Last night I was googling my last name and decided I'd go to the website of my alma mater, the University of Northern Iowa, and do a search on their website for me. Well, I didn't find anything about me, but I did find a photo that includes my father. He is the third person from the left in the photo below. In it, he is standing next to the 1966 homecoming queen, in his role as homecoming chair at what was then called the State College of Iowa. I'm not sure what I was hoping to find, but it wasn't this!


Extreme Closeups

I picked up a new digital camera at Best Buy last week. A while back, I thought about buying a video camera so I could capture video of our baby once she is born, but then I began to wonder just how much video I would shoot. So instead, I bought a digital camera that can shoot video clips as well as stills. In the highest quality of video, I can shoot video up to seventeen minutes long. That should be good enough, and if it isn't, I can shoot up to an hour of video in the lower resolution mode. Mel actually picked out the camera, a Canon PowerShot S3 IS, and the salesman at Best Buy recommended it as well. So far I have been quite pleased with the camera.

Last Wednesday I shot some extreme closeup photos using the super macro mode on the camera. Here is a selection of the photos that I took that day.


A Visitor

My mother-in-law is visiting us tonight. She is attending a bridal shower for my wife's cousin tomorrow in town and came to our house this afternoon so she could spend some time with us. This gave Mel the chance to show her where the hospital is where we plan on having the baby. Now she'll know where to come see her newest grandchild when she is born next month. The three of us went out to dinner at the Irish Democrat. It had been quite some time since we had been there, which is why we suggested it. As always, the food was very good! I can honestly say that it is one of my favorite local restaurants in the Cedar Rapids area.

Mel has to work this weekend, so that will leave me home alone with my mother-in-law. Hopefully she can keep herself entertained in the morning because I need to get some work done tomorrow morning. In the afternoon, I may end up going to the Saint Patrick's Day parade downtown if I don't end up driving to Waterloo. I need to go there some time soon to help my mother with some computer issues, and to borrow her carpet shampooer. If I don't go see her tomorrow, I may have to do that Sunday afternoon after attending the new member orientation at church.



Yesterday was my grandfather's funeral. It went pretty well. I was surprised by the number of people in attendance. I think there were around one hundred people who came! My sister did a good job singing the Lord's Prayer as my grandfather had wanted her too. She didn't seem to have a problem getting through the song. We hung around at my grandmother's house for a while after the funeral, not leaving until after 7:00.

Now, after two days off from work in the middle of the week, I have to get back to work today. However, I am going to be working from home. I need to be around this morning for the plumber who is coming to fix a leaky toilet. I hope that it's nothing major. I would be going into the office after the plumber leaves, but Mel has a baby doctor appointment this afternoon that I am going to as well, so I figure that I might as well just stay home and work from here all day.


Replacing Computer Parts

As I write this blog entry, the software that came with out new Sony DVD+R 18x drive is being installed on our computer. Last week, the Philips DVD R/RW drive that came with out Dell Dimension computer stopped working. It would open up upon starting the computer and it would not close. I tried a few different things, such as reinstalling the drivers for the drive and reconnecting the cables, but that didn't work, so we bought a new drive today. So far it seems to be working just fine. I am always quite pleased with myself when I manage to upgrade or replace parts on the computer without messing things up.


Goodbye Grandpa

My grandfather passed away this afternoon. His health hasn't been all that great for the past several years. In fact, for several years now, whenever the phone has rung and the caller ID says it's my mom calling, I've been afraid that it was about grandpa. Ever since his ninetieth birthday a few weeks ago, his health has been declining.

My mom called me at work yesterday to tell me that she was headed to go see my grandparents and that grandpa was not doing very well at all. So when I got home from work yesterday, Mel went to visit them. Grandpa was pretty much out of it when we saw him at the nursing home where he's been for about a week and a half. I don't think he was really every aware that we were there. While I am sad, this was not at all unexpected, and my grandpa doesn't have to deal with the pain anymore. My grandma has been doing her best to try to take care of him the past few years, and that was very hard on her. Hopefully now she will be able to relax a bit and just worry about taking care of herself.

Bouncy Seat

This week, the featured photo is one that I just took an hour ago. This is a picture of the bouncy seat that we got for the baby from Mel's friend Heather. Sitting in the seat is a stuffed bear that I bought in January while I was in Minnesota for work.

Speaking of the baby, we did some shopping for some baby essentials this morning. We thought we'd get a lot of what we needed at the baby shower that had been planned for last weekend, but that was unfortunately postponed by the weather. The rescheduled date isn't until a few weeks after the baby is due, so we decided we'd have to get a few things ourselves. I guess we'll be taking things back if we get any duplicate presents.


Don't Smoke

C-3PO says smoking is bad.

I found this on YouTube tonight and I think I actually remember this ad from when I was younger.

Getting Ready

Mel and I went to the Saturn dealership in town tonight to have the baby's car seat bases installed into out vehicles. Sure, we could have done it ourselves, but for no cost we had someone who really know what she is doing install them for us.


The Calm Before the Storm

I haven't been blogging a whole lot this week, mainly because I haven't had much to say. Oh, there was a bit of drama this weekend regarding the postponed baby shower, but for the most part that has been resolved. We had an appointment at the baby doc today. Everything seems to be going just fine. We have about four weeks to go.

In four weeks, I imagine my blogging will decrease some, but when that happens, it won't be for a lack of topics to write about. Instead, it will probably be due to a lack of time or energy. From what people have been telling me, I shouldn't expect to get much sleep once the baby is born. It's really too bad that I can't sleep a lot now and save it up for when I won't be able to sleep.


Movie Sign

Mel and I went to see the movie Zodiac this afternoon, but not before having lunch with her friend Penny and Penny's son at Perkins. Lunch was good, and so was the movie. Zodiac was pretty long, being over two and a half hours long, but we both really enjoyed it. I was so engrossed in the movie that it didn't really feel as long as it was. While the movie had a very serious tone, I did find one moment slightly humorous. When the Melvin Belli, portrayed by Brian Cox, made an appearance, I leaned over to Mel and told her that he, Melvin Belli that is, was in an episode of Star Trek. Mel kind of rolled her eyes at me for that comment, but not thirty seconds later, another character said to the Belli character that he had enjoyed his appearance on Star Trek. I just found that a bit ironic. Anyway, I would recommend Zodiac to people who love crime movies.

Baby Got Back

If you think you have seen the video for Sir Mix-a-Lot's ode to the female backside, Baby Got Back, you need to check this video out. It presents the classic song from a somewhat different perspective.

Golden Spike Monument

This week's featured photo is of Jon, me, my cousin Laura, and my sister Rebecca at the Golden Spike Monument in Council Bluffs, making this the second in a series of featured photos from Council Bluffs. While part of the "golden spike" is visible in this photo, it's mainly of us and the sign for the Golden Spike Monument. The spike commemorates the junction of the Union Pacific and Central Pacific rail lines.


Another Snowy Day

This morning, my carpooling companion and I made the decision to each work from home due to the snowy condition of the roads we would have had to travel to get to work. That worked out pretty well for me. I spent the day working, using both my work laptop computer and our desktop computer to make my work a bit more efficient. Also, instead of listening to music with earphones and my iPod, I just played music through the computer's speakers directly from iTunes. This gave me access to the entirety of my music library instead of limiting me to the four gigabytes that my iPod can hold. Never mind the fact that there is no way I could listen to 4 GB of music in an eight-hour work day.

This evening, Mel and I went to Coralville to meet some friends for dinner at Olive Garden. These were people with whom I worked when I taught in Riverside, Iowa, several years back. In fact, in June it will have been five years since I left Highland. I got caught up on some of the gossip about what's going on at the school and we got to see friends, some of whom we haven't seen in over a year! In addition, we got some baby gifts while we were there, including some diapers and a couple of books that come with CDs--Rhinoceros Tap by Sandra Boynton and Poetry Speaks to Children edited by Elise Paschen. The poetry book includes poems by Odgen Nash, Gwendolyn Brooks, Langston Hughes, Rita Dove, Robert Frost, Sonia Sanchez, Roald Dahl, and many other poets.

On the topic of baby gifts, we did get a phone call from Mel's sister this afternoon. We were to have a baby shower tomorrow afternoon in Shell Rock, but due to the weather, the shower is being postponed until some time in April. The roads are so bad in northwestern Iowa that Mel's mom can't make it the two miles into Humboldt, let alone make it across the state to Shell Rock. And travel is not advised across most of the northern and western parts of the state. It would have been nice to have the shower tomorrow, but it's better to have it when people can safely attend.


Damn You Pachelbel!

My sister sent me an email with a link to a video on YouTube. The video is a rant by comedian Rob Paravonian. Apparently he was a cellist and loved all music on the cello, except for Pachelbel's Cannon in D, which is a horrible piece to play on the cello. It's just so dammed boring! I played the Cannon in D in high school orchestra and I have had a strong dislike for this piece ever since then. I'm just glad that my wife didn't want Pachelbel played at our wedding! Now after watching Paravonian's rant, I am afraid that I will hear the tune popping up in all sorts of places that I hadn't before!


Around 9:30 this morning, while I was at work, an email was sent from someone in my company's human resources department to all the Iowa employees to inform us that the state Department of Transportation was thinking about closing Interstate 380 at 10:00. As a significant portion of our employees travel I-380 to get to and from work, this was kind of a big deal. Now, people started talking about how the interstate was closed, however this never actually occurred. I can't blame people for getting this wrong though as some of the media were reporting the closure as a fact instead of as the tentative plan that the DOT had. Nevertheless, this gave me and my carpooling companions a reason to head home from work early. I finished up my work from home this afternoon and I am now watching light flurries of snow out my window, waiting for the forecasted cataclysm to happen.

A Busy Couple of Days

The past two nights, Mel and I had pregnancy classes to attend at Saint Luke's Hospital. Tuesday night's class was "Pathways to Birth" and last night's class was "Comfort Skills for Labor." The class last night had a lot of good ideas for helping with pain during labor and ideas for how to get labor moving along. Hopefully what we learned in that class will come in handy in just over one month. Tuesday night's class showed us ways that labor can be induced. We also saw a video of a baby being delivered by cesarean section. I thought I'd have a hard time watching a real surgery on the monitor, but it wasn't too bad to watch on the TV.