Friday, December 31, 2010

She doesn't like Mazda

Our last full week together. I'm only partially looking forward to going back to work next week.

This last week has been a little stressful. Kelli and I have been discussing car options. My lease was ending soon. I wanted an SUV. A 2011 Ford Edge to be exact. Meanwhile Kelli is still rolling around in a 2004 Prius. The Edge would be my 3rd new car since she bought her Prius. Hmm. Couldn't do it. My conscience said she gets the next new car.

After MUCH discussion we decided to get a 2010 Prius. It's nice.

Over the last week though we have been looking at cars. We stopped by two Ford dealerships and one Toyota dealership. Natali was fine at all of them. Yesterday I stopped by a Mazda dealership to get my Mazda appraised for a trade in.

Before I went I waited for Natali to wake up from her nap. I fed her like always. No not like always.

This week Natali has been a little off. She's been taking 6-7 ounces first thing in the morning (awesome!). Every other bottle is a challenge. She takes 2 ounces...or 3...then plays with the bottle. Some time later (like right after the hour limit for the bottle) she hungry again. Between the playing and hungry again she refuses to eat.

So yesterday when she took 3 ounces I figured she was done. I left right away for Mazda. It's 13 minutes away. After we got there she was pissy. Hungry likely. Thankfully I was able to give them all the info before she got pissy.

While the inspected my car Natali and I walked around the lot outside. She was not happy.

Once we left she was pissy till I started driving. She then slept. Once back at home she took 2 more ounces.

Not sure what her deal is this week. It's not the formula as she takes the entire bottle non-stop in the mornings. Hopefully this will pass.

Anyways last night we went to a Toyota dealership. Natali was a trooper for the full 3 1/2 hours we were there. She only got pissy for about 10 minutes. Beyond that she was chllin.

We now have two Prius...a 2004 with 80,000 miles (my new car) and a 2010 with 160 miles (Kellis new ride). No more Mazdas for us.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010


Natali is 4 1/2 months old. Each time I pick her up I am amazed at how much she has grown.

My sister in law made Natali a square pillow thingy (I am sure there is a real name for it). Natali likes to play with it. We will put her on it and she will roll to one side and laugh. She gets the idea that if she moves one way or the other something will happen.

When we put her on her side she appears to be abel to control her movements as she will balance or push forward or backward. Small steps.

Kelli and I decided to keep Christmas simple this year. We have spent enough money in the last four months. No need to go into debt unneccesarily. Next year will be bigger.

We tried feeding Natali a banana. That's the food of the week. She is eating it well. Doesn't seem to be overjoyed by the sweetness. No allergic reactions either. Both good.


The embedded video has been acting funny lately, if it doesn't work click on it twice and it will open in a new window.

We tested out a 2010 Prius yesterday. Kelli really liked it. I tried for about 5 minutes to get the car seat installed. Gave up. Very tight fit. More so the our current Prius. It's still in the running, but...hmmm.

Kelli and I are a great couple because we are so different. We had a new car conference last night. New plan is to buy something we can pay off in 4 years. That puts all of the cars I currently want out of the running. The search continues.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas. I am very fortunate to be able to spend Natali's first Christmas at home with her. Here are a few of her Christmas photos.

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Wednesday, December 22, 2010

It gets better

Natali is 190,080 minutes old. Most people use months. That's so cliche. Fine she is 3,168 hours old. Still not happy? Bleh she is 4 month 10 days old. Done.

It seems everyday we spend together is better than the day before. I'm sure it's a combination of her getting older and us getting to know each other.

Not tracking her bottles and diapers is going okay. It has lead to a few surprises.

For a while she has been a 4 ounce bottle taker with 5 every now and then. I would stress over half an ounce left in the bottle.

Lately she has been taking the full four ounces...and asking for more. There has been much less waste. This morning for example she took the base 4 ounce bottle and then slid the bottle back for another 3. That's right folks, 7 ounces in under 25 minutes. A new record.

Still one the fence about what vehicle Natali will be rolling in next year. I'm looking at the entire ownership cost, not just the price of the car.

Car insurance can really bite you. We use Progressive and they have a pretty straightforward system to estimate the cost to replace a vehicle. Some vehicles like the 2011 Ford Edge cost less to insure than Kelli's 2004 Prius or my 2008 Mazda5. One would assume a newer vehicle is more. Nope. I've crossed two vehicles off my list that cost less than the Ford Edge or Kia Optima, but cost much more to insure. Like so much more to insure it doubled the cost of our policy! I wonder how many people check out insurance cost before buying a vehicle.

I'm in no rush though. Back in November Natali and I went out a lot during the week. Not so much anymore. The cost of going out exceeds the benefits. Even with getting 26MPG a trip to the mall cost about $4 a day. That times say 4 times a week is $16 X 4 weeks a month is $64....not a lot of money, but it adds up. Instead we have fun at home and go for walks. I cram all our outings into one big trip to save on gas. I have another month before I get a paycheck. My bank account is about to throw on the low fuel light. Gotta replenish before I splurge on a car.

Finally, Kelli and I aren't doing much for Christmas. We decided to not go into debt buying things we really don't need. Natali as increased our expenses enough, plus she has no idea what Christmas is.

Until yesterday there wasn't a single hint of Christmas in our house. My dad sent us stockings to hang from the fireplace, one for each of us. Somehow we already had 3 hooks from the fireplace. Kelli thinks when we first moved in she put a hook up for each of us plus Lilo. Hmmm. Whatever the reason, Natali has her own stocking.

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Sunday, December 19, 2010


Natali was stuffy all weekend. I bought babyrub....which is a Vicks product for babies versus the adult Vicks rub. I'm glad I did some research as the adult stuff is way too powerful for babies skin and lungs. It helped a little. The saline solution helped a little. Tonight we got a humidifier on advice from our friend Kerry. I did my research and settled on a Safety 1st Ultrasonic 360 Degree Humidifier.

I put it in her room about 30 minutes before I put her down. I checked on her about an hour later and she was breathing much easier. No stuffiness. I'm happy...and she's sleeping better.

The website has an all new look. I am sure regular visitors noticed. The name will stay for a least until May. I will decided then if I want to renew it or not. This current design took me about 6 hours of work until I was happy. I went thru at least 4 other templates.

Natali has outgrown her jacket. Might go shop for one tomorrow. We have just two more weeks together until she heads to daycare and I head back to work.

Will be big changes for all of us.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Cousins Share!

Over the weekend in Sacramento, my niece Haley was sick. Jami (my sister in law/Haleys mom) and Peggy (my mother in law), tried to keep Haley away from Natali. Didn't work. Natali is all congested. The award for first germs that caused Natali to get visibly and audibly sick goes to Haley. Accepting the award for Haley will be Jami. It was bound to happen I guess. I'm not upset about it....although initially I thought it was an attack from Haley to remain top grand daughter. Better now when I am home to care for her than a month from now (when I am certain she will start getting sick more often).

I know babies can't take Tylenol Cold and Flu (although there is a large market for a baby version...just sayin). Last night I heard her moving around in bed much more than normal and I could hear her congested breathing.

When I went down the hall I found her unswaddled (I assume she had REALLY been struggling) and just squirming around a lot.

I brought her to the couch and had a moment of clarity....I had an unopened bottle of saline solution! About a year ago I bought it when I had allergy problems but didn't know it. I thought I bought a mist but instead I bought a spray. The spray is more of a drip....but great for babies.

Thankfully it had not expired yet (how does salt water expire?). With Natali on her back I inserted the tip in her nose and gently sprayed.  I could tell it went in as she smacked her lips with the salty taste in her throat/mouth. Much better.

She was now wide 1:30AM. I tried to bring her to our bed...she was talking and kicking. Down to the guest bedroom we went.

I had sealed off the guest bedroom weeks ago after my mother in law left. Sealed off meaning no heat. It was cold. No matter what I did I couldn't get warm. Natali had an idea...for me to walk my rear to the kitchen and make her a bottle! Fine. Done.

She slept for about 2 hours. I shivered. The rest of the house was warm, just not this room. At 4:20AM I gave up and we both went back to the main bedroom and slept warmly.

This morning she is a little better. I reapplied the saline solution. We will see how it goes.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Second Feeding…much better

So I followed the directions on the box of rice cereal for "babies first meal". Crap. No good. It was so watery it went all over her face.

I improvised and made it a little thicker...much better. Natali now sucks on the spoon and swallows the meal. She is an intelligent little girl as several times she grabbed the spoon and put the food in her mouth herself. I held on as to not let her choke herself. Natali also tries (and occasionally does) hold the bottle herself as well.

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Still working on a feeding plan for solids. I am going to start with once a day for a while and see how it goes.

90th percentile

I took Natali in for her 4 month Doctor visit on Tuesday.

Not too hip with our Doctor. Nice enough guy...seems burned out. Doesn't talk much, just goes through the motions.

Natali weighed 15 pounds 10 ounces at 26 inches tall with a head circumference of 16.7 inches. Her percentiles according to are:

Length = above percentile 95

Weight = between percentile 75 and 90

Head Circumference = between percentile 75 and 90.

Big girl. I asked if she was overweight/fat, he stated she wasn't.

I attempted giving Natali her first solid food yesterday (after discussing it with the Doctor who said it was fine). It went about as bad as could be expected.

She sat in her high chair all happy. I put very small amounts on the spoon and into her mouth. Maybe 10-20% went down. Most came down her chin and onto the bib. I could have squeezed the bib and gotten a good 3 ounces back.

Over the last week or so Natali has been "talking" a lot...especially after eating. She will "talk" for for 2-10 minutes. If I talk back to her she talks more and will mimic my sounds. The video was shot with my phone....better to listen and not watch as it's a little...a lot shaky.


Natali is into her sleep pattern firmly. Happy for me.

For the last two months I have tracked all her feedings and droppings. Looking back...she's pretty regular. I'm going to cease recording the data. It was an interesting experiment.

I think Natali has a true baby book. I haven't seen it. This blog is, in my opinion, better than a baby book as it has more data.

Monday, December 13, 2010

4 months and 14,000 miles later

Natali turned 4 months old over the weekend. The three of us took a trip to Sacramento to see family. Natali has now been on 12 flights and has flown just over 14,000 miles.

Getting there was a little difficult. Kelli has no vacation days left. She needed to be back for sure to go to work on Monday morning. She used her airline miles to get an award ticket to and from. Problem (which ended up helping) was she couldn't get a ticket TO Sacramento but she could get one FROM Sacramento. She had to fly into San Francisco.

Natali and I used my flight benefits. We couldn't get to Sacramento on Friday, but we could get there Wednesday. No thanks. We went to SFO with Kelli.

We were able to get our own row on the way there. Traveling with the new Britax Boulevard CS 70 car seat is just as difficult as it is too say. I bought a compact hand truck and bungee cord to make it easier to transport the seat around the airport. Worked fine. Getting the seat down the aisle of a plane was a bit of a chore. Eh.

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While there we met up with our friends Jodi and Chelsea. Their daughter Casey is two weeks younger than Natali. Looking at the two side by side though would make one think Natali is on steroids or Casey is much younger. Casey is around 13 pounds and slim. Natali is around 15-16 pounds and....hmmm...full. Natali isn't fat....just larger.

Casey really enjoyed Natali as Casey would reach out to touch Natali and place her hands in Natali's mouth. Natali only moves her arms if there is a REALLY good reason. Casey loved moving her arms.

Jodi thought I was nuts tracking Natali's poops, pees and ounces eaten. Bleh. Speaking of poop, apparently a geeky father (whom shall remain nameless) didn't secure Natali's diaper fully. While waiting in the Sacramento airport Natali had the poop face. Natali was standing on Kelli's lap when it happened. The poop left the diaper. All down Natali's leg. Ick.

We were sitting in an area away from other people. We whipped out the wipes and spare clothes. Thankfully nothing got on Kelli as all of our clothes were in our checked bags.

Jodi and Chelsea just bought a 2011 Toyota Highlander. Kelli seemed to like it. I got the hint that if I buy something new it should have a hatchback. The Highlander is juuuuust outside my price range. We might look at them, but only seriously consider them if I can work a good deal.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

The TSA, Baby Bjorns and Stupidity

I travel for living. I haven been thru several different TSA checkpoints. As a pilot some TSA stations allow flight crews to by pass security entirely. At other airports flight crews have dedicated lanes. At most airports flight crews go through the same lines as regular folks.

At some airports I can wear my ID which has keys attached through the metal detector without it going off. At other airports my keys go off. Some airports I can leave my laptop in my bag. At other airports I am directed to take the laptop out of the bag (exact same bag and laptop). Point...the TSA is very inconsistent.

Natali had flown on 5 flights before yesterday. Kelli and I have a system. We breezed thru in the past. No issues.

Yesterday was our first time using the Baby Bjorn. I searched online about taking Natali thru security with the Baby Bjorn. Not a lot of information. No big deal.

When we arrived at the airport, I asked the first TSA agent who was checking our ID's if we could take Natali thru the Xray IN the Baby Bjorn. The agent said it was no problem and that they could both go thru. Fine. Kelli and I prepped for it.

I put all the bags on the belt and went through the X-ray. When Kelli approached the agent said she would have to take Natali out of the Baby Bjorn. Stop!

Politely I stated that 10 feet away the TSA agent who checked our ID stated we could go through the Xray with our baby in the Baby Bjorn.

The agent at the Xray stated that, "Due to new pat down procedures, if the baby goes through in the holder, both the mother and baby would be patted down."

There was no way the TSA was patting down my wife much less my 4 month old daughter.

I questioned the agent why this policy changed in 10 feet. He directed me to his supervisor.

I questioned the supervisor why her agent instructed us that we could take our child thru the Xray in the holder without a problem, but the second agent stated otherwise.

The supervisor stated the first agent isn't a screener and doesn't know the current procedures. I stated that's no acceptable that an agency in charge of screening the public not know what procedures are in effect.

At this point the supervisor walked away toward the first screener. I calmly walked back over and help Kelli take Natali out. We took our time, everything at the checkpoint stopped. Several people were watching, not in anger at us, but at the ridiculousness of the TSA.

I would have been fine if the first agent stated that Natali had to be taken out. At least the rule would have been consistent.

Once clear a passenger came up to us and told us how poorly the TSA handled our situation.

After I brought them thru security I went to park the car. When I came thru later I had Natali's new car seat. It is too large to go through the Xray machine. A TSA agent hand inspected it. I watched. They should really be trained better, totally ineffective inspection.

Rant done.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Not sleeping

Technically Natali is sleeping through the night. We put her in her crib all swaddled up around 10PM after her last feeding. She appears to fall asleep. Between then and 5:30AM she never cries....but I don't think she sleeps much.

When I look back at the video she flops around every 30 minutes or so for about 3-4 minutes. I put her on one side of the crib and by morning she is on the other side....still swaddled up. She just inches her way over eventually stopping when her head is against the railing.

Throughout the night I wake up to the sounds of her flopping and kicking. Whenever she reaches the side of the crib (between 3:30AM and 5AM) the noises are louder as its her head hitting the crib rail. At this point I go down the hall and either move her (if its before 4:50AM) or take her with me back to our bed.

Once she is in our bed....she sleeps motionlessly on her back. I have had little luck putting her down on her back in her crib unless she is dead tired. Otherwise she flails around and wakes herself up.

I'm thinking its her mattress that's the issue. Maybe is not up to her liking softness wise. I don't want to buy a super soft mattress because....of the SIDS risk. If she is face down on a soft mattress her face would sick in. If on the current "*firm* mattress face down it's much more likely that she will still be breathing.

Going to do some research today.

We were going to go to Sacramento today but the flights were fullish. Ironically it looks like if I were solo....or if Natali was 5....we could have had First Class as it's more open than coach.

Oh well.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Kiddie Kandids Review

Getting photos taken is easy. Finding out how much they cost....not so much.

We tried to get price quotes. Everyone was mum. Only offering percent off coupons or small package deals. Kelli and I were most interested in a CD of the photos.

We realized we would have to just go and see.

Natali and I stayed home all day to prepare for the photos. I made sure she was well rested and was sleeping until right before we left.

I made a reservation at a Kiddie Kandid location in Hurst inside of a Babies R Us. We arrived early and were the only ones there (this was a Monday....on Sunday it was NUTS in there!). The employee was nice enough. She tried making Natali smile. Natali was like, "Who is this woman father? She is not on my intelligence level....and I'm not yet 4 months!"

Trying to help out, I used a receiving blanket to make Natali smile. She likes blankets close to her face....odd I know.

A few nice photos were taken. Now for the sales pitch.

Kelli quickly stated we were most interested in a photo CD. The photographer assistant stated the CD alone was...drum roll please.....$250!!!!! For 10 photos that were taken!!!!!

However if we bought photos if would be cheaper. The cheapest photo and CD package was $180. I had a 20% off coupon so out the door our cost was $160. For that we got 8 8X11 sheets with various sizes of photos, a 10 x 13 photo and the CD. I wondered if we would have balked more if we could have had a better price. Eh.

A little research showed Kiddie Kandids was purchased by Sears a few years ago. When we stopped by Sears a few days ago we got the same run around on getting prices. Whatever.

I am now working with the photos and will use Snapfish to get our Christmas cards.

Will we use Kiddie Kandids again? Probably not. Next year I will try to find a "real" photographer. The prices aren't much higher and we can get photos outside of a studio.


Update: The $250 CD includes RIGHTS to the photos to print out at your local CVS/Walmart. The cheaper CD that we bought does not.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Our flight plan

Natali and I have two "flight plans". One where we stay home and cruise smoothly. The other is when we go out....that one sucks.

The smooth one has been ironed out. She wakes up around 5AM. I feed her, we watch the news and then she sleeps from 7AM till 9AM. I then feed her again, play around and she goes back to sleep around 10:30AM. She then sleeps till 1PM. She eats, plays and goes back to bed at 2:45PM. She then sleeps till around 4:00PM and by then Kelli is home. Natali is rested and in a good mood to play for a few hours before sleeping from 6PMish till 9PMish. She then eats for the final time, gets a night time diaper and outfit and goes to sleep between 10PM and 10:30PM.

If we go out or the plan is all goes out the window.

Yesterday Natali "woke up" around 8AM. I calmly asked Kelli if she intended on taking Natali out of bed...Kelli said she was as Natali was "awake". I sighed and let it be....knowing what would happen.

Natali was cranky for most of the day. We went out later and she just wasn't her normal self. Not her worst, but not normal.

Prior to Natali entering my life I thought my sister in law Jami was nuts. She would insist on my niece sleeping and taking naps and doing things around the nap schedule. I didn't get it. Why can't Haley (my niece) just power through it? A little extra sugar and a coke....let's roll. I now get it. Jami is still nuts (she does have Richmond genes after all) but I get more and more how she got that way.

So far this morning it's smooth sailing. It's 11:20AM. Natali did take an extra 2 ounces this morning. A little outside her norm, but I'm okay with it.

Natali is getting the idea of crawling. Chest is up and back legs wiggle...but she won't pick her but up. I'm not sure's the same small/flat but that Kelli has. If Natali had the ghetto large rump I possess....I would understand.

Natali is also enjoying the exersaucer we are borrowing. She is spending more time in there and turns herself around every now and then.

On another note, my lease on my car is coming up soon. I'm on the fence on what to do. Kelli REALLY wants me to keep the Mazda5. I see why. It's a good car. But I can't get this comment I heard a few months ago out of my head; "When you see a guy driving a Mini-van you know he's a guy who's had his nuts chopped off." I still have my nuts.

I am looking at a sedan (Kia Optima) or hatchback (Prius or Venza). Max price of $26,000 as I can't fathom spending more than that on a car. I've only done it once, my Acura which was $29,100. That really was a stretch. When I'm 40...yeah I will spend more. For now...nah.

Kelli thinks a sedan makes no sense. Mid-size sedans are the most popular car out there (even more than SUVs!). Eh. We will see.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Better night

Still having a problem with Natali and her schedule. If I take her out during the day, it means hours without sleep for her and a cranky baby later.

I schedule our outings to begin after she wakes up, eats and gets a new diaper. This way I have 2-3 hours till she gets tired/hungry again.

Doesn't help. She just wants to look around and...see. I like it as she is interactive and first.

Yesterday we went to a mall in Arlington. We walked around Sears, and baby stores and Macy's. I found a really pretty Christmas outfit for her at Macy's for just $ even had built in footies! I picked it up and looked at it...which meant I stopped walking. Natali began throwing a fit. I then began walking in circles looking out the outfit. I wanted it. Problem....cashier line was long. I began looking for another line. Natali didn't care for moving now...or sitting still. "It" was on.

She was on a level 9 screaming/crying fit. It had only been 90 minutes since she last ate....but it was a hungry mixed with a tired cry.

I put the outfit back on the rack and headed out of the store. After making a bottle I fed her. She was happy and took two ounces. Time for a diaper.

The first "Family" bathroom I found was locked...must have been in use. We waited for 3-4 minutes. Nothing. Time to find a new one.

Natali was fine....until we got in the bathroom. She then started again.

Her crying doesn't bother me/stress me out much. Not at all when we are in our own room (the family restroom I found was private). I changed her diaper and then we headed to the food court.

Holding her in my arms and letting her stand made her happy. She watched a Merry-Go-Round for a few minutes.

She took another ounce and was ready to leave.

I had hoped to find a pillow of some type to help her balding. The "Summer Baby Positioner" has been recalled due to a SIDS risk. Nothing out there. Boo.

Once home I got to thinking. She used to sleep in her basinette on top of a really soft blanket. She was swaddled up so only her head/sides of her face rested on the blanket.

In her crib there was no blanket, just a bare mattress with a sheet.

Last night I laid her (swaddled up of course) on top of a similar soft blanket. Much better night.

I turned on the movement monitor in case she rolled over. No problems. Better night.

Natali didn't wake up until 5:15AM. I think it might have been the sound of Kelli in the shower. Either way, a better night.

This time next week Natali will spend the weekend in Sacramento being adored by family.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Camera one....Camera two

Natali was born with a full head of black hair. Over time it's lightened up to a medium brown. It's all began thinning.

When she was two months old she didn't mind sleeping on her stomach. Over the last month though that has changed.

Natali now sees being on her stomach as playtime/work. She pushes herself up and struggles to move. She can no longer relax.

This has lead to her sleeping on her back almost all of the time. When she is on her back she has this odd mannerism of looking to the left....then to the right....then to the left. Over and over again. This constant motion has caused a bald band on the back of her head.

In addition to this mannerism there is the whole head movement thing, she squirms around a lot as well.

She tends to sleep better when swaddled up. However after an hour or two she starts the head turning thing and then starts to squirm. She has turned her body a full 180 degrees! The night before last she was hitting her head on the side of the crib. Not hard, but I could hear it on the monitor.

I end up picking her up and taking her to bed with me. When she is next to me she sleeps fine. Very little movement...just deep sleep.

Kelli and I aren't sure what to do with the head turning issue. I might try putting her down without being swaddled to see if she can sleep without waking herself up from moving around.

A new look will be coming to the site as there is no longer a byrd in the oven. A good friend gave us a domain name, It's working now, but just redirects to this site.