Back In Cedar Rapids

Jeremy, a good friend of mine we were in junior high school, was getting married this weekend in Cedar Rapids, so for the third weekend in a row, we all spent the weekend in Iowa. We had long ago decided that we did not want to find ourselves encumbered by a three-year-old and a two-month-old while we were at the wedding and the reception following it, so we dropped Max and Emma off with Mel's aunt and uncle in Robbins before proceeding to the wedding. The ceremony was very nice, and we had a great time at the reception. It was great to see many friends whom I hadn't seen for quite some time. While we are all in contact with each other on Facebook, it was nice to see them all in person.

On Sunday, we picked the kids up and went to my grandma's house in Keystone, Iowa. She had met Max for the first time two weekends ago when we were in Waterloo for Emma's birthday, but we thought it would be nice to visit with her in a much smaller setting. After our visit with Grandma, we headed back for home.

Our trip home went fairly well until we stopped for dinner. After that we had a problem with Emma constantly saying that she had to go to the bathroom. That last stretch of our drive home, from Rochester to Cottage Grove, took way longer than it should have. It will be nice once both kids have better control of their bodily functions.


Happy Birthday

Today was Mel's birthday. Before doing anything for her birthday this evening though, we took Emma to the doctor for her three-year check-up. Emma is growing just fine. She is 39.5 inches tall, which places her at the 95th percentile for height. She is definitely going to be tall!

After the doctor appointment, we all went to El Loro in Eagan for dinner. Mel was going to have a large margarita and I was going to have a smaller one. Thinking that she may end up buying a second margarita later, I thought we should order a pitcher of margaritas. As I was driving, I didn't get to drink to much of it, and not wanting to waste a drop of margarita, Mel ended up drinking the vast majority of the pitcher's contents. We had a really good dinner, but Emma did not seem to interested in the food which she had ordered. She did like eating my rice, so maybe next time we go to El Loro, we should just get a side dish of rice for Emma. Sure, it's not a well balanced meal, but she gets plenty of nutrients throughout the day.

When we returned home from dinner, Mel opened her birthday presents which included a Minnesota Twins T-shirt, the DVD of New Moon, and Buckyballs which I had purchased with the gift certificate I had won from ThinkGeek.com.  We then rounded out the evening with some cake, which I baked, and ice cream.


A Visit to the Doctor

We took Max to his two-month doctor appointment today. There we learned that he weighs 12 pounds 14 ounces and is 24.25 inches long. These measurements place him at the 75th percentile for both weight and length. Max is going to be one big boy. The doctor told us that he is quite healthy. We did mention to her that Max seems to have a problem digesting his formula as evidenced by the consistency of his dirty diapers. She suggested that we switch his formula from Similac Advance to Similar Sensitive RS. It will take us a few days before we know if this formula is working better for him, but just this afternoon, he appeared to have an easier time consuming it. He drank more before stopping to burp. This was all really good especially since he was very unhappy this afternoon, probably because of the three vaccination shots he received. By this evening though, Max calmed down quite a bit.


Putting Maximus to Bed

On Friday night, Mel decided that we should start trying to put Maximus to bed before he is asleep, allowing him to fall asleep on his own in his crib. Previously we had been holding him until he was sleeping, then we would place him in bed. Mel had read that between six and twelve weeks of age is a good time to start this. With Emma, we did not try to get her to go to sleep on her own until she was one year old. That resulted in several nights of lots of screaming. That is something that we would like to avoid if possible Well, it took just under an hour for Max to go to sleep the first night we tried this. He didn't scream at all, but he did make some noises, and we went in to check on him several times. Both Saturday and Sunday nights, as well as tonight, went even better. I think it only took him about ten minutes tonight to be sleeping. It might help that he has suddenly started eating more; yesterday and today he began eating five to six ounces of formula at a time, up from four to five ounces. Now if he would just sleep through the night, things would be even better.

Birthday Party

We went to Waterloo, Iowa, yesterday for Emma's birthday party. She shared a party with her cousins David and Benjamin, both of whom have birthdays either this month or next. While it made for a long day, driving to Waterloo and back in one day, we had a good time. Emma really had a great time. She got quite a few presents, and seemed to like them all. She even liked the clothes she got. When we told her that she needed to try them on tonight, she couldn't get to it soon enough. It is good that she got some new clothes, because she was lacking on summer clothes that fit her still. We gave her several T-shirts on her birthday, and yesterday she ended up getting quite a few pairs of shorts.



Today was the third anniversary of Emma's birth. I still remember receiving a phone call at work from Mel on this day three years ago telling me that her doctor had told her to go to the hospital. Since it was still a couple of weeks early, I was sure that it was nothing and that Mel would be going home from the hospital that day. I even told my coworkers that I expected to be back at work the next day. How wrong I was. Mel's water had broken and Emma was breach, so they delivered Emma that afternoon.

Today was, of course, much less eventful than that day. Emma did have a good birthday. Mel asked her if she wanted anything special for breakfast, giving her the option of McDonald's or doughnuts. Emma decided that she wanted a doughnut, one with sprinkles. The doughnut always has to have sprinkles. After breakfast, Emma opened her presents from us. We got her a Memory game, a pink soccer ball, and five T-shirts. It was good that we got her some T-shirts as we had her try on all of her short-sleeved T-shirts this morning and discovered that she had outgrown most of them. While we didn't have McDonald's for breakfast, we did have it for lunch as, after she said that all she wanted for breakfast was a bowl of cereal with milk, Emma decided that she wanted chicken nuggets, apples, chocolate milk, and a toy. So off to McDonald's we went to get lunch.

Emma took a really good nap after lunch. Then this evening we got the chicken alfredo pasta from Pizza Hut, one of Emma's favorites. She really likes pasta. I think she would eat noodles every day if we let her. She then blew out the candle on her birthday cupcake. We are having a larger birthday party tomorrow, so we decided just to have cupcakes and Dairy Queen ice cream tonight. After desert, it was bath time, followed by bedtime. For some reason this evening, Emma just started saying "X-wing fighter" over and over, so for her bedtime story, I located my Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back pop-up book from the basement and I read that to her. She really enjoyed it. She especially liked pulling the tabs in the book. Remarkably, the book is still in really good condition. Only one of the pop-up features does not work. Now Emma just needs to go to sleep, she's been in bed for quite a while, but she seems to be resisting sleep. We have to get up early tomorrow morning to head to Iowa for a birthday party with our relatives, so she better sleep soon, otherwise she is likely to be cranky tomorrow.


Sweet Child O' Mine

I can not believe that Maximus, who is not yet two months old, is already wearing 6-to-12-month clothes, some of which are already too small for him. The Onesie that Max was wearing today fits around his shoulders and chest, but it is lacking in length. Max is definitely going to be a tall kid. Finding clothes for him is going to prove to be challenging. I've seen some devices for extending the length of Onesies. Hopefully that will work, but I need to remember where I've seen them.

Census 2010

We got our 2010 Census form in the mail today. I am not sure why some people, like my neighboring congressional district's representative, Michele Bachmann, are so concerned about it. There were very few questions, and except for the question about whether we own our home outright or have a mortgage on it, none of the questions were overly probing. It took Mel less than ten minutes to fill out the form. It's now ready to go back to be tabulated.

Trip to Cedar Rapids

Last weekend Mel had a bridal shower to go to in western Iowa. She took Max with her so her bride-to-be friend could see him. This gave me a great opportunity to go to Cedar Rapids to visit friends who I hadn't seen in about a year. I took Emma to my mom's house in Waterloo on my way to Cedar Rapids. There I stayed with my friend Bill. The two of us went out to eat Friday night to Metro Buffet. The food was pretty good, although I still thin it was better several years ago.

Saturday morning, Bill and I drove around Cedar Rapids, seeing the sights. We even went to Westdale Mall. Surprisingly the mall was quite busy. There was some charity walk going on in the mall. If that were not the case, I would guess that the mall would have been dead as it still seems to be less than half occupied.

Saturday evening, Bill and I got together with our friends Jeremy and Jason. Jeremy is getting married in a couple of weekends, so we had a bachelor party of sorts. This entailed us driving to Coralville where we had dinner at Old Chicago. This was followed by miniature golf at Colonial Lanes in Iowa City and pool at Gus' in North Liberty. The whole evening was over before 10:00 when we headed back to Cedar Rapids. Some of us are just too old to hang out very late these days.

I left Cedar Rapids to get Emma from my mom around noon. Emma and I then headed home.


Dishwasher Update

Here's an update on our new dishwasher. We were the repairman's first stop Friday morning. Upon looking at the dishwasher, he discovered that the installers who had been here two days prior neglected to install the check valve when installing the dishwasher. The water line also had a kink in it. He easily solved these two issues, giving us a fully functional dishwasher!



This afternoon, after lunch, I started our new dishwasher out on its inaugural run. After the dishwasher beeped to indicate that it was done, Mel opened it to put the dishes away. The first couple of dishes she pulled out were still dirty. We both attributed this to how the dishes were loaded into the washer. We both assumed that I didn't rinse them enough or that they were too close together. Upon removing even more dishes from the dishwasher, Mel discovered that none of them were clean. Once all of the dishes were taken out of the dishwasher, Mel noticed that the dish-washing detergent was pooled up at the bottom of the dishwasher, below the door from which it was dispensed. All of this gave us the impression that no water actually ran through the dishwasher when it was supposed to be washing the dishes. I called the Sears installation and maintenance number to see about getting our dishwasher working. After being on the phone for nearly forty minutes, we now have an appointment for someone to come out and look at the dishwasher between 8:00 and noon tomorrow. I was planning on leaving town at noon tomorrow. I hope this repair does not delay my departure.


A Functioning Dishwasher

If you have been a regular reader of my blog for the past year, you may recall that on April 10, 2009, I broke our dishwasher by tripping over the open door in the dark of the night. The dishwasher had never really worked too well, so we did not want to invest any money in repairing the door so that it wouldn't leak. Instead we simply stopped using the dishwasher, and washed dishes by hand since then. We had considered buying a new dishwasher but when I learned that the government would be having a rebate program for purchasing Energy Star appliances, I decided that we should hold off on buying a new dishwasher until we could get the rebate.

Last Monday the state of Minnesota opened up its appliance rebate program. The website and phone lines were both down for most of the day, but in the afternoon, I was finally able to get through on the website and register for a $150 dishwasher rebate. I consider myself to be pretty lucky as all the alloted rebate funds had been reserved by 9:00 the next morning. So Saturday, after attending a birthday party for one of our nephews, Mel and I bought a new GE dishwasher from the Sears appliance store in Woodbury. The salesman who worked with us, who from our conversation I gathered to be a high school senior, was very helpful and did a fantastic job. This afternoon the dishwasher was delivered and installed. We didn't bother to wash our lunch dishes today in anticipation of the dishwasher's arrival. I can not wait to get it fully loaded so we can give it a proper test run.


New Roof

When we bought our house in 2008, we knew that we would have to replace the roof sooner than later. It had some damage, probably from a hail storm. However since the house was owned by a bank, having been repossessed from its previous owner, the roof had never been repaired. A few weeks ago we got an estimate for repairing the roof that we thought we could manage, so we decided to go ahead with the repairs. Having people banging around on the roof all day made it a little harder than usual to get my work done, but I did get everything done that needed to be done today. I am definitely glad that this major repair is done. That is one less thing to worry about for the next twenty-five years.

A Raise

Yesterday I received a phone call from my manager at work informing me that I am getting a raise. I was expecting one, although I wasn't expecting much of a raise as I had told that raises this year would likely be modest. I was surprised to get a bigger raise than I expected. Today I also found out that I will be getting a bonus this coming Friday. All this extra money will definitely come in handy, especially with having a relatively new baby at home. The raise and bonus are nice, however I am coming to the realization that being a full-time work-from-home employee is probably hurting my prospects of getting promoted at work. Perhaps I should talk to my manager about the possibility of being the lead on a project. That would help in getting promoted, but I do not know if that will happen. I do not suppose it will hurt to ask.



Last night we went to the Sears Portrait Studio at the Mall of America to get Emma's picture taken in advance of her third birthday in two weeks. We had been very pleased with our experience there last year when we had pictures taken. The photographer last year was very understanding when Emma didn't completely cooperate when we first went in, allowing us to come back a couple of days later to get more pictures taken. This time, Emma did much better at listening to the photographer, looking at the camera, and smiling. Our entire session took very little time, and we were once again quite pleased with the photos. I especially like that they include rights to reproduce photos on the CD which we purchased with our portrait package so we can make additional prints ourself. Looking at the portrait CD this morning, I did notice however that they did not include the enhanced portraits on it as they did last year. Those would have been nice to have on the CD to make additional prints of, but I suppose I can always add borders and change the tone of the portraits we do have, myself. Regardless, we certainly will be returning to the Sears Portrait Studio next month to get photos of Max taken when he is three months old.


ThinkGeek Action Shot of the Month

I know it's been a long time since I have blogged, but I have been quite busy with both work and home life. I also haven't had much to write about lately. I do have some news to share now however. A few weeks ago I submitted to ThinkGeek.com this photo of me wearing my geek T-shirt holding Maximus moments after he was born. Last week I was notified by ThinkGeek that my photo was their action shot of the month! Not only did this come with the honor of having the photo in their monthly newsletter email, but it also came with the award of a $100 ThinkGeek gift certificate! I bought a few things last week. I got s a T-shirt for Emma and a Monty Python killer rabbit plush for Max. I have yet to buy anything for myself though. There are a few things I am thinking about buying, but they are all out of stock at the moment. Hopefully when the items I want are in stock, ThinkGeek will be having a sale that I can take advantage of, getting even more benefit out of my prize.