Monthly Archives: May 2008

First night out without the boy, plus a ‘Crystal Skull’ beat-down

To allow us to celebrate our third wedding anniversary, Sarah’s mom volunteered to stay at our house with Oliver. Yes, after 12 weeks, Sarah and I finally had a night out to ourselves.

The wife and I had a nice night, though it wasn’t overly romantic or special. It was, however, just what we needed.

We started the evening out with dinner on the outdoor patio overlooking the Missouri River at Lewis & Clarks in Old Town St. Charles. We order entirely too much food. Spinach and artichoke dip for an appetizer, side salads to continue our warmup, and chicken platters with sides. And to make the meal, I had three pints of fresh Missouri Brown Dark Ale, which is brewed up the street at Trailhead Brewing Company. Sarah downed nearly two pints of the Trailblazer Blond Ale. Good stuff.

Afterward, we called to check in with Grandma Annette. Things were going OK, so we headed to see “Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull.” As kids of the 1980s, Sarah and I were anxious to see this movie. In the Lopinot household, my dad (an archaeologist) was our family’s Indiana Jones. “Indy” was a character we absolutely loved. Anyway, with this new movie, Sarah and I went in with high hopes but came out extremely disappointed.

I don’t want to spoil it for anybody, but I think it’s fair to describe the mistake-of-a-fourth-installment in the series in this way: It’s “Independence Day” meets “Tarzan the Ape Man” meets “Abbott & Costello Meet Frankenstein.” If you have seen or plan to see this movie, you’ll know what I mean (and I’d love to discuss it with you).

The best part of the movie was the fact that Sarah (age 33) and I (age 32) paid the student rate for tickets. Here’s the proof:

How funny is that? We didn’t even ask for the student rate or have to show ID. The sign said something like you have to be 23 or younger.

So after the movie ended, we went home. Oliver was about ready for bed, and we were, too. What a fun night. Can’t wait for our next one.

Happy anniversary to my sweetie

To my sweetie,

Three years ago today we became one. It was just you and me back then. No dog. No Oliver. Just Sarah and Justin.

We learned to live with each other. We learned to love each other even more. And most importantly, we learned to live and love without boundaries.

Who would have thought that the “hot chick” I hit on at a smoky bar almost seven years ago would now be my wife of three years and mother to my beautiful little son? Simply amazing.

Love always,




The boy finally moves into his own place

There’s no “empty nest syndrome” in the Lopinot household today, despite the fact that Oliver has finally moved into his own place. Yes, after 11 weeks of sleeping in my family’s 150-plus-year-old cradle 2 feet from our bed, Oliver slept in his own room last night.

The result? The best night of sleep we’ve had since March 4, 2008 (two days before Oliver was born).

Here’s the quick play-by-play:

I wrapped Oliver tight in his Miracle Blanket and took him into the bathroom around 10 p.m. I turned the fan on and the lights off (he likes the noise — go figure) and he was asleep in about 30 seconds. I then I took him to his room, put him into his crib, turned on our baby monitoring device and went back to our room.

Shortly thereafter, Sarah and I went to sleep. I can’t speak for the both of us, because I was out cold, but I slept and slept and slept — all the way until 6:30 a.m. A little shocked at first, I quickly realized that our house was completely calm and quiet. So I went back to sleep for two more hours.

I feel amazing today. The boy made it through the night (I found out later that he woke up for a 5:30 a.m. feeding, which I slept through). He’s growing up so fast. The next thing we know he’ll be off to college. Right?

Oliver’s hot streak has been broken

Oliver’s been on a streak lately – a streak of sleeping for most of the night. His best night, which I documented here a few days ago, he slept from about 9:30 p.m. to 6 a.m. He had similar, though not quite the same length, success over four consecutive nights.

Last night, however, the case was different. Oliver didn’t go to bed until close to 11 p.m. He was up for about an hour at 2:30 a.m. and then woke up again at 4:30 a.m. He was noisy until well after my alarm went off (6:30 a.m.) and I left for work (7:15 a.m.).

Oliver’s getting his late-night meal now, and we’re hoping to start a new streak tonight. Wish us luck!

Back at home, feeling refreshed (and tired)

We’re back at the abode in St. Charles, enjoying the last few hours of our three-day weekend. We had a great trip to visit my parents in Springfield, Mo. On Saturday, we went to the Branson Landing. It’s an outdoor shopping area along the lake. The weather was fantastic. I’d say about 75 degrees, but with a nice breeze. We ate dinner there at some bar and restaurant that had outdoor seating overlooking the water. It was pretty cool.

Today we kept it easy prior to our long drive home. We’re all tired now. Oliver has crashed, the dog won’t move unless I drag her across the carpet by her feet (but why would I do that?!!?), and Sarah and I are ready to go to bed (and ignore the 15 or so bags, boxes and piles of stuff from the trip that are piled up in our kitchen).

Below are a few pictures of the boy and the rest of the gang from our first out-of-town adventure. Enjoy.

Oliver’s face says a lot about what he thinks of Bass Pro:

This is what the next generation of Lopinots looks like after a day of shopping in Branson (woo-hoo!):

Here’s the obligatory grandparent-with-sleeping-grandson photo:

Grandpa feeding Oliver a bottle at the restaurant:

Me taking over for senior Lopinot:

Oliver a few minutes ago, ready for bed:

Molly, our spastic goldendoodle, is even tired tonight, so of course I had to take a picture:

Road trip update

Quick update from Springfield:

Did you know that packing for a road trip with a baby takes much, much longer than you could possibly imagine or plan for? Well, we found that out yesterday. We were up early, as usual, and planned on leaving between 9 and 10:30 a.m. We left ourselves a pretty big window. Regardless, it didn’t happen. Between feeding Oliver several times, getting through showers, etc., it was almost 11:30 a.m. when we hit the road.

On the way, we had to stop at Sarah’s parents’ house to drop off something. By the time we left there, it was 12:15 p.m. and we were starving. We hit the nearby McDonald’s and ate on the move. However, about 20 minutes in, Sarah, who sat in the back with Oliver, began yelling at our dog like crazy. Yes, Molly was going nuts in the back of the vehicle. So we pulled over and set up her crate in the back. She rode the rest of the way back there.

Oliver slept the rest of the trip, which was great. We got here around 3:30 p.m.

Oh yeah, and last night Oliver has his best night ever. He slept from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. It was amazing!

Today we’re planning on heading out somewhere. I’m sure I’ll have more to write about it later.

Road trippin’ with the boy, plus an honest answer at a work function

We are hitting the road tomorrow to take Oliver on his first road trip, as we head down to Springfield, Mo., to visit my parents. We’re taking our crazy dog, too. Should be fun.

I hope Oliver sleeps well down there. He’s been going better lately. Two nights ago, he slept from 9:30 p.m. to 5:30 a.m. — a new record! Last night, he went to bed around 9:45 p.m. and got up around 4 a.m. Of course, when he woke up, it was with a vengeance. I’m tired as heck today. But oh well. We attribute this new success to the Miracle Blanket, which arrived the day our success started. It’s basically a “baby straight-jacket.” It keeps his arms from moving around, which is great because he tends to get frustrated when his hands get near his mouth.

I like having a “9-to-5” baby. Now if we can just get him to sleep two more hours …

Oh yeah, and in regards to work. We had a retreat today and I made it my goal to join in the conversation as much as possible. It was invigorating. Of course, there was one point where our guest speaker took us off topic and got into some really confusing business-speak crud, and I spaced out. I leaned over to mention something to a co-worker and the speaker asked me if I had something to share.

It felt somewhat like high school. Only this time I was too tired to make something up, so I said, “To be honest, I’m not sure what you’re talking about. You started using a bunch of business language that I didn’t find interesting and I stopped paying attention about 10 minutes ago.” A few people laughed and the speaker went off on another tangent (something about how she usually doesn’t talk to “young” employees but instead CEO types — whatever!). Anyway, my boss came over later and thanked me for making the comment. About a half-dozen co-workers said the same thing. Funny how just being honest all the time pays off so frequently.

Oliver: “There’s a 90 percent chance he’s bigger than your baby!”

Oliver had his two-month doctor appointment today, and he’s doing great. Too great, some would say. I’ve mentioned here before that he’s a big, beefy boy. Now I have the proof. He checked in today at a healthy 14 pounds, 9 ounces. He’s also 24.5 inches long.

To put things into perspective, here’s how he ranks among babies of a similar age:
Weight: He’s in the 90th percentile
Length: 90th percentile
Head circumference: 95th percentile

The boy is big. In fitting with that theme, below is a picture of him in one of his most chunky-looking poses. Enjoy:


The Mother’s Day we never saw coming

Today was the Mother’s Day we never saw coming. A year ago, this day was not great. Instead of being excited about what the next year would bring, Sarah and I were despondent. We were desperately wanting to have a baby, and we were near the breaking point.

May 2007 turned out to be a busy month. We had a trip planned for Memorial Day weekend for my sister’s wedding in Minnesota. We went, we partied hard (OK, I did — or at least I was told that I did), and we came back refreshed. More importantly, we came back relaxed. And magically, within two months, we had achieved our goal: Sarah was pregnant.

So this year, instead of being jealous and angry watching 17-year-old girls dragging their fatherless babies and their babies’ 34-year-old grandmothers around Target, we are celebrating.

We are celebrating life. We are celebrating Oliver. And we are celebrating Sarah’s motherhood.

Sarah is the sweetest mother one could ask for. If Oliver could talk, I’m sure he would have spent the day telling her how much he loves his momma. Below are a couple pictures taken today of Sarah and her chubby bundle of miraculous life. Enjoy:




Commute conundrum

While sitting in traffic yesterday for a combined two-and-a-half hours on my way to and from work thanks to traffic accidents, I contemplated the pros and cons of my commute. Here are the top items I could come up with:

Pro: I have an awesome 10-year-old house on a quiet court with an open field behind our yard.
Con: The drive between our house in St. Charles and the office in Creve Coeur is 40 minutes each way and gas costs almost $4 per gallon.

To add insult to injury, I drove past my former residence in Maryland Heights on the way to getting my hair cut after work on Tuesday. How long did it take me to get there? Twelve minutes (yes, 12!!!). I can’t imagine what it would be like to leave for work at 7:45 a.m. and get home around 5:15 p.m. Imagine what I could do with that extra hour each day. I’d probably feel more energized as well.

I may have to start looking at house listings and just not tell Sarah about it. You know, find the perfect house and then spring it on her. I don’t know what else to do. I simply will not live in the St. Louis city limits, and I’m stuck on the west St. Louis County area. However, those areas are pricey and I’m still in the early stages of my career.

Any thoughts or suggestions? What’s your commute like?