Monthly Archives: March 2008

Filling up after two days of running on fumes

Yesterday was a long day. I was on fumes after less than four hours of sleep for two consecutive nights. That, coupled with family in town and the need to entertain them, left me groggy. I hardly remember much of what went on.

We did take Oliver to his Great-Grandma Lopinot’s house. Well, I say “we,” but mean that “I” took him. Sarah was too tired and wasn’t feeling so hot, so I piled into the car with Oliver, my sister and her husband. We had a nice lunch, and Oliver got to meet a few new people, including my Great-Aunt Tillie and Uncle Dale.

Then, last night, my parents came over and we played some cards (I still feel guilty, as a regular Texas Hold’Em player, for contributing toward cleaning out my dad – twice – and the other players). After the parental units left and Sarah went to bed, Jennifer, Ryan and I played Wii. I hit the sheets around 12:45 a.m., “letting” Jennifer watch over the sleeping Oliver while trying to get some unimpeded rest. It paid off, as Oliver slept for over four hours! It was amazing. And all night, he went right to sleep after feedings. I’m still a little tired but, comparatively speaking, I feel wonderfully refreshed.

Anyway, below is a picture of Oliver with his great-grandma and great-uncle. Enjoy:

Aunt Jennie and Uncle Ryan in the house

Today was a long and tiring day. I’m beating the same drum, I know, but Oliver was up sooooo much last night. I barely slept over three hours. Then, this morning, my parents came to stay at our house while Sarah and I test drove some vehicles.

After we left the first dealer, Sarah had to pump a little baby nectar, so we found a covert parking spot in the back corner of a secluded parking lot. So what happens as soon as we got the pump going? Some schmuck in a truck pulls into the spot RIGHT NEXT TO US! There were literally 50 spots open on that parking lot, including about 12 in a row to our left. But there was Mr. Dufus, sitting there in his truck. And he continued to sit there. And sit there. I finally moved the car, but what a knucklehead.

Anyway, the car shopping was not successful, so we’re still looking. Back at the house by 3 p.m., we awaited the arrival of Aunt Jennie and Uncle Ryan. They drove down from Minnesota to stay with us for about four days. It was their first time meeting little Oliver.

It’s been a crazy night. Really, like a zoo. Loud and louder. Sarah just went to feed Oliver and then go to bed. I promised to stay up with him until the next feeding (perhaps around 1 a.m. – yikes!). Tomorrow, we’re off to Great-Grandma Lopinot’s house for lunch. Then probably back here for a nap.

Here’s a picture of the Stokes twosome feeding our son (enjoy):

Oliver at his fussy finest in my presence

The other day, I wrote about how calm Oliver was in my mom’s arms. Well, it’s quite the opposite when I’m the one in charge. It’s been especially bad of late, with his diaper rash, bad gas and feeding-frenzy-induced growth spurt.

Last night, I think he slept about three hours, and I probably slept about two-thirds of that total. Thankfully, Sarah let me sleep in this morning, so I got another solid three hours before eating a hearty bowl of Honey Nut Cheerios around 11:30 a.m. (that was followed by lunch at 2 p.m., and I still haven’t showered as of 3:30 p.m. — what a nice schedule I’m on).

Sarah made her first venture out of the house without me this afternoon. Oliver was extremely fussy the entire time (basically, it’s been the standard for the past 24 hours, so nothing new, right?). He finally fell asleep about 10 minutes before Sarah got home. The trick was putting him in his swing and cranking the music up to notch 10 to drown out his crying. Surprisingly, it worked.

Anyway, I thought I’d post a little short video of Oliver at his fussy finest in my presence. Enjoy:

Wipe, wipe, wipe …

Seems like I spend an abnormal amount of time wiping Oliver’s bottom. He goes through at least 14 diapers a day. His poor little rear has been taking a beating lately, as he has developed a little of the so-called “diaper rash.” We took him to the doctor today, so now after wiping the brown stuff, I get the joy of spreading cream all over that tiny rump. Fun stuff. I guess that’s part of parenting, eh?

I guess that’s it for now. I just heard Sarah call out, “Daddy, it’s diaper change time.”

Grandma Sharon and her calming effect on Oliver

My mom, henceforth known as Grandma Sharon or Grandma L., just left our house a few hours ago. She came up on Friday to stay here and help with the baby, cleaning and cooking. She really wanted some long-overdue face time with Oliver. She got plenty, as Sarah and I gladly accepted her help (for example, Grandma Sharon probably changed two-thirds of the diapers and was responsible for all of our meals, and we happily let her calm her screaming grandson at midnight last night).

Grandma Sharon has a real calming effect on Oliver. I shot a short video of her holding him. The quality’s not that great, but I’m excited to feature it as my first YouTube video of Oliver on this site. Enjoy it, and let me know what you think:

A first Easter for Oliver

In case you have been locked in a vault somewhere or are reading this blog from some jungle on the other side of the planet (ahem, Trevor!), Easter was today. For those of you who don’t live in the St. Louis area, let me first tell you about the weird weather today. We had snow. I’m talking HUGE flakes of snow. And it was coming down in droves. It looks almost fake, like in a movie. Then the snow would stop all of a sudden and the sun would come out. Then it’d start right back up. Here’s a picture of me standing on my in-law’s porch:

OK, OK. I know what you’re thinking (yes, I’m talking to Sarah’s friend Judy and some other readers out there – I know who you all are!!!). You’re thinking, “Quick putting pictures of you and backyards on the blog. Just give us more of Oliver.” And I’m hearing you loud and clear. What’s ringing through my ears is, “Oliver. Oliver. Blah, blah, blah, Oliver. Blah, blah, blah, we don’t care much about you anymore, Justin. Blah, blah, Oliver.”

And I don’t blame you. He’s an adorable little newborn. Anyway, he had a great first Easter. He got to meet his cousins, Nathan and Kaitlyn, for the first time (I’ll blog about that later in the week), and he got a lot of gifts. However, he didn’t seem too happy to pose with his Easter bounty. Enjoy the picture (it cracks me up):

Happy Easter everybody!

Oliver meets Drew (and Jen and Susan)

Oliver has had an adventurous Good Friday, finally getting some “play time” with someone his own age. That would be Drew, son of my good friend and former co-worker, Jen Hatton (also a new blogger, check out Life with Drew if you get a chance). Drew was born on Dec. 31, but that was an early arrival. He checked in at a little over 4 pounds. Now a 10-pound certifiable little man, Jen brought him over and our little ones had a good time hanging out. Well, they actually just slept (and tooted — a lot, and it smelled up the joint) the entire time. Oh well. It was cute seeing Oliver next to another newborn.

We also had a visit from friend, co-worker and blogger Susan. She brought Guitar Hero over and was kind of enough to leave it with me for a couple of weeks. I’m already itching to get back to playing it, and will be doing so in about … well, maybe five minutes or so.

The weekend should be nice. My mom’s here, and it will be great having “Grandma Sharon” around to help with all things Oliver for a few days.

Below are a couple pictures from today. The first is of Drew and Oliver, with their doting mothers, and the second is of Susan holding our little beefcake.

Killing time at 2:30 a.m.

Oliver was up for quite some time in the middle of the night, plus I was still wound up after earlier playing ice hockey and getting completely smoked by the best team in the league. So after noticing there was a full moon, I took my mother-in-law’s fancy camera and went out to the backyard to take a few pictures.

Most were completely terrible, since I don’t have a tripod and was relying on my shaky hands while the shuttle closed for several seconds. But a couple turned out alright. With the clouds and our view, it was a neat sight. Here are two of the salvageable pictures from my impromptu 2:30 a.m. photo shoot:


St. Patrick’s Day reminds us how lucky we are

For the Lopinots, St. Patrick’s Day is just another excuse to down a few pints of beer. But this year, the almost national holiday has special meaning. It reminds us how lucky we are to be sitting here, on a rainy Monday morning, holding our new son.

Almost a year ago, we could not have imagined this day would ever come. We had been trying to have a baby for nearly two years, struggling with disappointment after disappointment, visiting numerous doctors and undergoing some humiliating tests.

But we had a nice, relaxing day at the in-law’s house last spring. Sarah and I took the dog on a hike around their 5-acre lot. As we walked, I kept seeing four-leaf clovers out of the corner of my eye, amid huge patches of clover. I had never had that much luck in finding those genetically enhanced little charms, but there I was, finding one after another. I must have plucked five or six from the ground that afternoon. Sarah never found a four-leafer, but she did find that day’s “pot o’ gold,” a five-leaf clover.

We took our loot into the house and pressed them in an old book. We talked to each other that day with newfound optimism in our quest to become parents. “Just maybe,” we thought, “our luck had turned.” And little did we know, we did find our stroke of luck, and we now are holding the luckiest charm of all, Oliver.

Below is a picture taken this morning in his St. Paddy’s Day getup. For any of you out there that need some luck in the coming year, we hope you find it.

Free photos for first-time parents at Wal-Mart

Last night, Sarah sent me out to pick up a few items like gauze pads, baby wipes and Mylicon (for those in the know, yes, our son has some bad gas). I thought, “While I’m out, I should get a few prints made of some of the hundreds of photos we’ve taken over the past week.”

I could have went anywhere, but decided on Wal-Mart. It as a sound decision. Here’s why: I took my flash drive back to the photo department and loaded it into the Kodak machine. It was really cool. Instead of waiting an hour for the prints, the pictures started popping out of the machines within minutes. However, the machine didn’t tell me how to pay. I could have easily just walked away with some freebie photographs.

Instead, I went into the electronics department on the other side of the wall and asked the man how I was supposed to pay for the pictures. He flipped through them briefly, inserted the stack into a sleeve and then told me, “There’s no charge. Photos are free for new parents.” So they were freebies after all.

How sweet was that? At just 28 cents apiece, and with only 25 photos, the gesture only saved me $7. But it also earned a lot of my respect. Being part of the public relations industry (or whatever terms we’re using nowadays), this was a smart move on behalf of Wal-Mart. Next time I’m thinking about getting prints made, Wal-Mart will be the place I think of first. They’ve earned my business through their $7 investment.

Are there any other perks for new parents that I should be aware of? If so, let me know!