Max's First Birthday Cake

Yesterday was Maximus's first birthday, and the first time he got to eat birthday cake. He didn't seem to sure about it at first, but he did end up eating some of it. A lot of it ended up in his lap however.


Happy Birthday Maximus

Today is Maximus Xavier's first birthday. As I recall, he arrived a little earlier than we expected. I had just finished cooking dinner, potato soup, on January 22 last year when I woke Mel up from a nap. About that time, her water broke, so we got my aunt and uncle to come get Emma, and Mel and I left for the hospital. The next morning, Maximus was born. He has grown so much in the past year. He weighed 7 pounds 8 ounces when he was born. He now weighs over 23 pounds. And his height has increased from 20.5 inches to over 31 inches.

We have had some challenges during the year, including dealing with his torticollis and plagiocephaly, but he successfully finished physical therapy and his head was reshaped using a cranial orthosis. One thing we are still working on is getting him to sleep through the night. With the exception of a night or two, until this week Maximus has gotten up at least once every night for a bottle. The past several nights though we have not fed Max when he was up. We have been able to get him to return to sleep without one. Friday night, he went back to sleep very quickly after getting his pacifier. I think we may very soon be done waking up with him each night. It will be very nice to regularly be able to get a full night's sleep once again.

He has also begun walking recently. I am looking forward to seeing what he will begin to do next.


Photo Friday: A Summer Photo for a Cold Day

With the temperature around -14°F this morning, I thought a photo from RAGBRAI a couple of summers ago would be nice. This is me eating a walking taco in Brighton, Iowa. It's just 26 weeks until RAGBRAI XXXIX!


1 Down, 25.9 To Go

My weight was down 1.0 pound this week leaving 25.9 pounds to lose until I reach my goal of weighing less than 200 pounds. To help in reaching my goal this morning, I declined buying a roller grill when I stopped at SuperAmerica. I really like the Bacon, Egg, and Cheese Tornadoes that they have. They are tasty, but they are 5  Weight Watchers Points Plus points each. I would rather save that for a healthier snack later in the day.


The New HDTV

On Wednesday last week, we picked up our new high-definition television from Best Buy. After setting it up, it was nice to have a TV where the entire screen worked as intended. This morning a Comcast installer came and connected our HD cable service. I am amazed by the difference! The colors are so much more vivid than with our previous TV. When the screen is white it is so bright. And when it is black, it really looks colorless. I have found that reading the fine print in ads is much easier as the words are much more crisp than before. One drawback I have noticed so far is that these are some things that I really did not need to see in high definition. For example, the commercial with the guy carrying around the giant flask of uric acid is a bit more disgusting now than it was in standard definition. Overall though, I am sure we will enjoy watching TV in high definition. Now we just need to get a Blu-Ray player.


Progress with Walking

In the nine days since Maximus began walking, he has made a great deal of progress! The first couple of days, he just walked four or five steps before having to grab onto something. Now he can walk the entire length of our living room. I have also noticed that while he still does crawl some, if he has any real distance to go, he is much more likely to walk than to crawl. There is no stopping him now!


Emma's Legos

One thing Emma enjoys playing with is Legos. Last week, she left the Lego creations shown here on my desk before she left for preschool. She really loves putting the tree on people's heads. But yesterday she did something with her Duplo Legos that really impressed me. Without any prompting or assistance, she built one of the things shown on the label of the box the Legos came in. I was very impressed that she was able to make the connection between the picture and the actual construction of the item.


Photo Friday: T-ball

This Friday's photo is a photo of me from when I played T-ball. I do not recall how old I was when this photo was taken, but I assume it was sometime in the late 1970s.


Back to Losing Weight

I have been using the Weight Watchers PointsPlus program for the past six weeks now, since the beginning of December. I lost weight on the program for the first two weeks using PointsPlus, but then gained weight the next three weeks. This gain was probably due in large part to not carefully watching what I ate over the holidays. This week I have gotten back on track, losing 1.6 pounds, bringing my weight to 226.8 pounds, 0.8 pounds less than my starting weight on December 1. It may take me a little longer to reach my goal of weighing less than 200 pounds than I hoped, but if I really stick to this, I should be able to do it.

Winter Gala

Last night we went to the Winter Gala at Emma's preschool. I think they did a much better job of organizing it this year than they did last year. Last year, each class performed in its own part of the building, but this year they all performed on the same "stage." Emma's class sang four songs, "The Seven Days of the Week," "If It's Winter and You Know It," "The Three Little Snowmen," and "The Bear Hunt." Last year Emma didn't sing much, but this year she did better at singing along.


A Sick Day

We kept Emma home from daycare yesterday. She had gotten sick during the night and we decided that even though she was feeling better in the morning, we would be better off keeping her home. I was able to finish the tasks I needed to complete yesterday, and was able to call in for a regularly scheduled Monday morning meeting, but after that I wasn't able to get any work done. Being not quite four years old, Emma is not yet able to keep herself entertained for hours on end. That was all right though. We had a good day day.


New TV

We finally did it! After putting up with a television set that has been going bad since even before we moved to Minnesota in July 2008 we have finally purchased a new television. We will be replacing our normal old television with a new high-definition television.

For the past few years, we have been putting up with a television in which the very top of the image is distorted. The only time this does not cause problems is when something is presented in widescreen. In those instances, the distortion is in the black portion of the image. However, when watching sports it can be very difficult to read what the score is or to see how much time is remaining. It also makes it difficult to play some video games. We have been saving up for a while, both cash and Best Buy gift cards. We didn't quite have enough, but the TV we wanted was on sale at Best Buy this week for about $150 off the regular price, so we couldn't pass it up. Unfortunately none of our area Best Buy stores had it in stock, so we ordered it online. It should arrive at the store to pick up by Wednesday.

Now we have to decided what to do about our satellite account. If I read the information correctly, it looks like we will have to pay DirecTV an extra $10 each month to get an HDTV signal. I suppose we could also look into what Comcast has to offer. All I know for sure is that we no longer have to make sure whichever package we get has the Discovery Health Channel as it was taken over by the Oprah Winfrey Network. It looks like a lot of the programming from DHC has moved to FitTV, so maybe we need to see about getting that channel now instead.


Maximus Walks

Today Maximus walked on his own for the first time. Oh, he has taken a couple of steps without any support, and he has cruised along furniture for the past several weeks, but today he took several unsupported steps. To celebrate, we went to Stride Rite and bought him a pair of size 6½ shoes.


Photo Friday: Cyclone Me

I intend on posting a photo to my blog every Friday beginning today, the first Friday of 2011. For the first of my Photo Friday photos, here is a picture of me as a baby with an Iowa State University sweatshirt which I presume was a gift.


Difficulties With Resolution Number 1

The first of my New Year's resolutions was to get my weight below 200 pounds this year, and to keep it there. So far this has been a bit of a challenge. I do not know why I haven't been doing well at it, although I probably ate to much less-than-healthy foods this weekend when we closed out our celebrations of Christmas. My weight this morning was up to 228.4 pounds. I can definitely still reach my goal. It will just take a bit longer and a little more hard work. At a healthy rate of losing one pound per week, I should manage to reach my goal by June 16. Now I just need to remember to track my Weight Watchers Plus points, exercise, and ignore the chocolate chip cookies that are sitting on the kitchen counter.

Doing Better at Daycare

The past couple of weeks, Maximus has usually begun crying as I leave him at daycare. Fortunately this has changed this week. Both yesterday and today Max did just fine with my leaving him. I think part of the trick is to leave quickly after dropping him off. The longer I stay to chat with his daycare provider, the harder it will be for him.


Tax Time

Since OfficeMax is having an 20% off sale this week for almost anything that fits into a shopping bag, I stopped there this afternoon to pick up this year's copy of TurboTax. As one would expect, we haven't received any W-2s nor any other tax documents yet, but they will be here soon enough. Normally I like to get out tax returns filed as soon as I possibly can in order to more quickly receive any refunds that are coming our way, but I heard today that because the IRS needs to update its software, they won't be able to process any returns that include Schedule A until mid February. In fact, I read that we can not even submit our tax return to the IRS until they say they are ready for it. If I really wanted to, I could file using the standard deduction right away and then file an amended return once they are ready for forms itemizing deductions, but that seems like a big hassle. I suppose our refunds will only be delayed by a few weeks, but I would still like to get them as soon as I possibly can.



As I finally succeeded in getting Maximus to sleep tonight at 10:00, I can't help but wonder when he will finally begin sleeping through the night without waking to be fed. I know we were spoiled by his sister's sleeping through the night at six weeks of age. But three weeks from today Maximus will be one year old, and he does not seem to be anywhere near sleeping through the night. In fact, I don't think he is ready to give up his middle-of-the-night feeding. I would like for Mel and me to be able to consistently sleep through the night once again.


New Year's Resolutions

I have returned to my blog to write a few resolutions for the new year.
  1. Get my weight below 200 pounds.
  2. Keep better track of spending.
  3. Read at least six books during the year.
  4. Keep up with my blog.
I think the third of these will be the most difficult, but I can do it if I just make the time to read.