April 29, 2010

The Battle of Fort Harper

This morning, as usual, I was up several hours before I needed to be. I took the opportunity to do some boxing and a few of the exercises that they recommended for me. By "they" I mean my automated trainer on the Wii, with whom I have an intimate friendship based on mutual respect and his inability to tell anyone how terribly I'm doing...

Just before I began the program, I heard the tell-tale sounds of stirring baby in the next room. I went in to find my baby girl laying on her back, staring happily at the ceiling. When she spotted me, a grin spread across her face to melt the heart of Cheney himself.

I still wanted to work out, so I brought her out to the living room and set her in a seat on the floor where she could watch, play with her toys and pass judgement on my attempts to physically improve myself.

Near the end of the session, she began to indicate to me, in the calmest of tones, of course, that she desired to be fed. In the frantic struggle to keep her from having a full blown aneurysm, I grabbed the first bib I could find, slapped it on her and gave her her bottle.

A quick aside here: my mother-in-law and I appear the be locked in an ongoing and unspoken clothing battle. She insists on purchasing clothes that give the impression, falsely, I might add, that Harper is enamored with her grandmother above all else. I, on the other hand, knowing this is simply not the case and aware of my daughters undying and unparalleled love for her doting father, choose to garb her clothing that indicates such. I tell you this because there appears to be a mole in my home. A traitor, if you will, working at cross-purposes to myself in this epic clothing struggle.

I suspect the cats.

Upon returning to the chair so that she could eat, I discover, to my horror, that I have grabbed a bib that relates the banner of my nemesis. Below my daughter's angelic visage lies the word "My (image of heart) Belongs To Grandma!" Curses! I narrowed my eyes and considered getting a different bib. Instead, I hatched a different scheme. I decided to be unnecessarily messy with the feeding and use this flag of rebellion to mop up the spittle, vomit, droll, and errant drops of milk from Harper's beatific face.

HAH! Take that! Your slogan is covered in baby puke!

..is what I thought. I was pretty pleased with myself and returned my daughter to the floor to play, allowing her to continue to soil the bib that so strongly proclaimed falsehoods of her affections.

After my shower and breakfast, I took Harper into her room to change her for her day at day care. I had a lovely cardigan picked out along with a nice pair of jeans. I put her in her crib and tore the hated banner of mine enemy from around her neck, discarding it like so much refuse. Under this, she had her sleeping outfit, which closed with snaps running from her neck down to both of her legs. As is my wont, I get close to her face, ask if she's ready to be changed, put two fingers in between the snaps and tear them open. This always gets a giggle from the object of my undying devotion.

This morning, I follow the same routine, sticking my fingers in between the snaps, prepping my angel and tearing them open. This morning, however, when the garment is ripped asunder, what sight greets my eyes?

SON OF A ...!!!

No giggle this morning. Just a sly grin...

Those cats are gonna get it...

*Author's Note*
I love and adore my mother-in-law and bear her no ill feelings, but from now on, I will be putting Harper in that onesie only when we are out of diapers.

P.S. You may have noticed a few changes with the blog. I've been experimenting with a few things to see how I like them. I am also looking for a new name for the blog and would love to hear suggestions. I appreciate all feedback, provided it doesn't come from, or in the spirit of, Bob Viegas.

April 28, 2010


As you can see, I've been playing around with the format of this blog. I'm not totally sold on this one yet, so we'll see how it goes.

I don't have a ton to say, but I wanted to get this video up. It's short and I'll have a longer one up as soon as I get home and find my MicroSD adapter.

Clearly, I need a video camera that is not my cell phone...

Anyone donating?

Also, here are two pictures from this past week. I'm sorry that I'm in the one. I am stunned at what a terrible picture that is...


There is a new button just to the right there about voting. If you like this blog, please click it. It doesn't ask for any info, but it helps to get this blog read by a few more people. Thanks!

April 21, 2010

My Daughter, The Racist

Sara has many friends.

This is, I believe, a direct result of her being on of the nicest people I have ever met.

I also have many friend.  Most of them live far away.

This is, I believe, while not a direct result, certainly related not the fact that I am not nearly as nice.

One of Sara's many friends is having a baby in a month or two.  This past Saturday was the baby shower and my beautiful wife took my gorgeous and well-tempered daughter to the festivities, where she was the only pre-menstral female in the room.

Harper does very well with strangers.  If she's not smiling at them, she looks at them inquisitively and she's most certainly not shy.

Sara's friend is of Mexican heritage.  I tell you this, not because I care about her race.  I, like Stephen Colbert, am color blind and do not see race.  I tell you this because it is vital to the story.

At some point during the party, the grandmother-to-be, also of Mexican lineage, sits down to talk with Harper.  This woman breaks into quick-tongued Spanish, speaking at a pace that would put Speedy Gonzales (how racist was HIS character) to shame.  After a second of looking bewildered, by even-tempered, stranger-friendly daughter bursts into tears.

I had half a dozen jokes to be made here, but I couldn't think of one that didn't play into the stereotypes of Mexicans or Mexican culture, so I'll just leave it.

While Sara was having fun and Harper was building up reasons to joins the Republican Party, I was, once again, hurting myself with exercise.

I did great with the punches, but this time, I did squats, too many and too hard.  (hehe...That's what she said!)

I couldn't walk on Sunday.

Or Monday...

Yesterday, I was able to limp, but I wasn't running any marathons, or climbing any stairs.

4 hot showers, 3 long sleeps and 25000 mg of tylenol later, I'm feeling better!  I was able to work about again today, but I took it easy, I promise.

In spite of the pain, I am still loving this workout and I need to start punching people!  As long as they don't punch back, I should be good!

We've been feeding Harper more solid foods lately.  "Solid" meaning mashed and liquified carrots, sweet potatoes and peas.  The contents of her diaper have gone from liquid and unpleasant, to road tar and putrid.

I'm ready to change your diaper now, baby girl!

Her movement has also improved drastically.  She's not crawling yet (which I hear is a good thing for my sanity) but she is rolling all over the place, scootching in circles and shoving herself backwards on the floor.  We also need to start strapping her into seats and she tried to do a forward summersault out of her swing this morning.

I set her in her car seat this morning while I was getting her bag ready for day care, as I do every morning.  I heard an odd thump followed by muffled cries.  My first thought?  You can just imagine, since I can't find a suitable picture on google...

What happened was that she had rolled herself over inside the car seat and was folded the wrong way, one-leg hanging over into oblivion, one arm poking herself in the face.

Luckily for my parenting skills, it appears that raucous laughter calms down a crying baby.

We got re-situated and off the day care without further injury.  She talked to herself the entire way there.

I love being a parent.

In almost unrelated news, I've been hired to teach physics this summer at Duquesne University.  For the month of June, I will be "Professor Aion."  I will still be spending all of July and most of August with Harper, but for June, we will need a babysitter or day care for half days.

My brother may come and stay with us for a while and fill that role, which would be nice.  I'll enjoy having someone else in the house who will push me to work out.

As usual, I love reading people's comments!  Please feel free to share this blog with anyone who you think may find it interesting, provided they don't own a van with tinted windows and candy glued to the outside.

April 15, 2010

Sleep, Eat, Poop, Wake Up Dad. Rinse, Repeat...

My beautiful daughter loves me.  Her smile when I walk into the house at night is beaming.  Her giggles when she sees my face over the rails of her crib in the morning are spectacular.  Clearly, she knows who I am and she is happy to see me.

So then why, oh why, does she hate me so much??

Two nights ago, she wanted to get up and chat (read "scream") at 3 am.  I thought for a moment about doing what I've been doing since her birth; pretending to be asleep long enough to make sure that my amazing and caring wife sees to her needs, then falling back to sleep.  After a brief consideration of this tactic, I sighed and got out of bed.  Sara works VERY hard and does not sleep enough.  I went into the other room, hoping that a soothing back rub might put my angel back to sleep.  No such luck.

She was on her stomach, having wiggled into the corner and trying to force her head through the bars and into the wall beyond.  When I went to move her back to the middle of the crib, she opened her eyes, looked me the face and cooed gently, as if to say "WHY THE HELL DID YOU TOUCH ME!!  I PUT MYSELF THERE ON PURPOSE, YOU'RE A TERRIBLE DAD!  YOU HATE ALL MY FRIENDS AND YOU THINK EVERYTHING I DO IS STUPID AND YOU NEVER LET ME GO OUT AND I HATE YOU SO MUCH I WANT TO DIE!!!!!"

Do you think I'm a little worried about her teen years?

Anyway, I walked around with her, bounced her lightly, laid her on my chest and I lay on the couch, walked around some more, talked to her, sang to her, danced with her, gave her hugs and kisses.

She fell back into a sound and deep sleep...just in time for me to be wide awake.  At 3:30am...  Did I mention I don't have to be at work until 11:30?

I didn't go back to bed because I didn't want to wake Sara, but then I changed my mind.  I don't think I woke her as I lay there, staring at the ceiling, feeling my legs groan in agony.

Why were they groaning?  Didn't I say?  No?  Oh.  Sorry.

I bought the Wii Fit two years ago and I loved it.  Then I liked it.  Then I got bored with it.  The only part I really liked was the boxing, but that also got boring quickly.  So last Thursday, I bought Gold's Gym Cardio Workout for the Wii.  This game is nothing but rhythm boxing.  It's like Dance Dance Revolution, except, instead of flopping your legs and feet all over the place like a spastic, "artist yet unappreciated" teenager in over-sized black clothes and make-up, you're flopping your arms and fists all over the place like a spastic, angry, overweight, socially outcast teenager in gym shorts.

Needless to say, I love it.  It's a great way to get out my aggressive energy and get my heart rate up in a non-"furious at everyone around me for being incompetent" way, which I think is a step in the right direction.  Also, Harper is entranced watching me punch the air as the magical white bricks in my hands make satisfying Kung-Fu sounds.

So I did boxing Thursday night, Friday morning and Saturday morning, throwing almost 2000 punches between those days.  Sunday, I discovered I was a little sore from the workout on Saturday and decided I should take a day off to let my muscles rest.  Monday too...

Tuesday, I progressed to the next level of workout, which included ducking as well as jabs, hooks, crosses, (There has to be a religious joke there somewhere...) and uppercuts.

I did not properly stretch.

I could not bend my legs yesterday.  In typical Justin fashion, I spent the day worried that I might be having a stroke, or some slow progressing heart problem that was affecting the circulation to my legs.  I had, of course, completely forgotten that I had worked out heavily without consulting a doctor before hand.  This morning, I still hurt, but decided that I needed to work through it.

So my sore legs and my beautiful daughter, as well as the stress of the newest episode of Deadliest Catch, ensured that I got minimal amount of sleep on Tueday night.  Last night, Harper slept through the night, but as is her wont, she woke up screaming as soon as Sara closed to the front door to go to work.  Up again!

In spite of this lack of sleep, I would not trade this in for anything.  On Sunday, she will be 5 months old.  It blows my mind that she's been here for 5 months already and that she's only been here for 5 months.  I remember what life was like without her, but not much.

Parenting is truly the greatest adventure.

Alright, enough rambling.  This is what you came here for anyway, isn't it?  PICTURES!!!

April 7, 2010

Why Is This Post All About Clothes??

Is it Wednesday?  I couldn't tell over the sound of me sweating my butt off!  It has been very hot this week, but the weather report says it will be in the 50's this weekend.  There is a certain irony in the fact that the weather has been amazing over this Easter weekend.  The irony exists for me because I had to work on Thursday and Monday to make up for the days when we had the Snowpocalypse.  Luckily, I still had Friday off and the day care was closed then and on Monday.  On Monday, my in-laws babysat for us, but on Friday, I got to spend the whole day with my angel!

She slept in a little so by 10 o'clock, I had her up, dressed and ready to go.  We went over to the local park, which happens to have a track around the outside.  I dressed Harper in layers and off we went.  We walked for about an hour, with the stroller, we went about 3 miles.  There were tons of people out, admiring how gorgeous my daughter is.

About 3 minutes into our walk, I stripped her outer layer off and we walked in her onesie.  After our walk, we went over to the mall and I bought her tons of outfits, which were on sale.  In spite of the sale, I bought enough clothes to send my bank balance into double digits.  Regardless, it's an expense that I gladly pay.  I try very hard to keep her out of pink.  She looks better in other colors anyway...

After the mall, we went home and napped.  It was a great day and makes me look forward to the summer even more!  On Saturday, Sara and I had a date night.  We went to dinner at a nice restaurant in town and saw Stomp and the local theater.  It was a great night.

On Sunday, we went to my in-laws for dinner and some relaxation.  Since they were going to watch Harper on Monday, she stayed with them for the night.  When we left without her, I took several tools from my father-in-law.  Not a great trade, but I think a fair one...

Yesterday, I dressed her in one of her new outfits for day care.
Look how cute she looks in blue!

When I got home from work last night, she had, apparently, thrown up all over this nice outfit and so Sara had put her in something else.  When I arrived at the house, however, no one was home.  They went for a walk without me!

In revenge, I used my new tools to tear a dead bush out of the ground at the top of the property.  I didn't even change out of my work clothes!  It was liberating!

This morning, I could not for the life of me figure out how Sara organized all of the clothes that I brought home for Harper and, as a result, could not find any matching outfits at all.  I put her one of the outfits that was a single piece.

That green thing is a toy that Sara bought for her a few weeks ago.  It's a little dinosaur/dragon thing that goes "BLEH" when you squeeze it.  It's adorable and quickly becoming her favorite toy.  She hasn't been able to figure out to squeeze it yet, but she loves holding it and trying to eat the plastic part that lets you hang it from something.

On a totally unrelated note, has anyone used, or heard of anyone using this "Your Baby Can Read" program?  I'm not currently downloading an illegal copy to try...



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