Monthly Archives: July 2008

Oliver loves him some sweet potatoes

Oliver liked the peas we gave him last week. Now, we’re on vegetable No. 2: sweet potatoes. It’s safe to say, by his reaction, that he loves this veggie. He opens his mouth wide, grunts in anticipation and gobbles it down quickly. He also gets the orange goo all over his face.

It’s fun to watch. I’ll have to get a video up here soon. For now, below are two pictures from one of his recent meal. Enjoy:



Aging + Inactivity = Out-of-Shape Justin

This long, tiring weekend has let me to finally realize and admit that I am out of shape. Chalk it up to aging and inactivity, only one of which I can fault myself for.

Friday night, I grilled outside, then had dinner and a few beers. Around 3 a.m., I woke up to a massive Charley Horse in my left leg. Man, did it hurt. Should have been drinking more fluids, I guess.

Well, that was extra bad news, since I had a work-related kickball tournament on Saturday. Yes, a kickball tournament. You can read about it by clicking here. It was a blast, and I think I did fairly well. But during one of the games, I experienced an extremely painful Charley Horse in my right leg. So both legs were dinged in a matter of hours. That, coupled with the heat and running and I was gassed. I could have played ice hockey that evening, but skipped it to rest up for Sunday …

So this morning, we got up early and headed out to Sarah’s brother’s old house. I say old house, because he was moving into a new house with his girlfriend (an awesome house, by the way). So we spent most of the day helping with the move. Being slightly larger than the males in the Callies clan (and with no doctor-certified hernia or back issues), I was asked to do much of the heavy lifting. Thankfully, there were a couple other “big” guys there to help out, but it was an exhausting affair. It was also a sweaty mess. It was like a wet T-shirt contest, only nobody wanted to see the contestants.

Thankfully, I’m home now, Oliver is in bed and we’re resting on the couch for the evening. I think I need to start incorporating some exercise into my life. This weekend was tough, but it shouldn’t have been THIS TOUGH!

Oliver ‘peas’ and ‘poos’

Oliver is finally eating real food  Yes, he’s now enjoying a small meal of oatmeal and peas once a day. True, he did have rice cereal a few times over the past several weeks, but with veggies, it actually seems like a big deal.

At first he seemed really confused as he gummed at the green concoction we scraped into his mouth. About half the food made it into his mouth, with the other half running down his chin. But overall, he seemed to enjoy it.

It was a lot of fun feeding him that first meal — that is, until we saw what real food does to Oliver’s diaper the next day. Talk about stink!

Here’s the mighty first meal, in jar form:

Here’s the boy, all ready in his high-chair for his first real meal:

Here’s he shows of his confused-with-food-on-face look:

‘Where’d your mom go?’

We had a big family get-together at Sarah’s parents’ house yesterday. Her dad invited one of his employees over. Kenny brought his wife and two tiny, cute and spunky little daughters. One of them, about 3 or 4 years old, came over to me during dinner and told me, “Your mom is upstairs with the baby.” I had to laugh, since she was referring to my wife as my mom.

I was like, “She’s older than me, but not that much older.”

Later, when it came time to leave, we all went outside. Sarah and I had driven separately, so she packed up Oliver and left before I did.

Kenny’s daughter looked at me and asked, “Where’d your mom go?”

I laughed again. In fact, I’m laughing right now thinking about it. Poor Sarah — mom to a baby and, according to this little kid, a 32-year-old grown man.

Sleeping on his stomach, Oliver has us a little worried

You’ll recall that I wrote yesterday about Oliver rolling over for the first time. Well, it was all fun and games until it was time for bed. That’s because he’d be in his bed and roll over onto his stomach and not be able to return to laying on his back.

Allowing a baby to sleep on his stomach is a major SIDS risk. There’s a reason why SIDS-related deaths have dropped by 50 percent since 1993 (when it was first recommended by pediatricians to place babies on their backs).

The first time we found Oliver on his back, we flipped him back over and got ready for bed. A few minutes later, I heard the sheets swish and then a thud and grunt on the monitor. I ran down there and he was sleeping on his stomach again, face pressed against the mattress with his head pinned against the side rail of his crib. So we stayed up for 45 more minutes, reading books for tips and advice and continually checking on him and rolling back several more times. Most times, he’d be face-planted into the mattress, huffing and puffing. Other times, he’d just be sleeping in that position with little chance to breath in fresh air.

Our research didn’t turn up much help, so we eventually strapped Oliver into his bouncer for the night. He slept fine in there, but we realized that we’d have to move him back at some point.

Today, on the advice of my good friend Jen and some online research conducted by my wife, we bought a bed monitor that goes under the mattress and will let us know if our son stops breathing. I’m sure he’d be fine without it, but we can rest easier knowing that we have a safeguard in place. We waited too long and tried too hard to have Oliver in our lives that even if there’s a one-in-a-million chance that something terrible could happen, it’s not worth the risk.

What do you think? Did we overreact? Have you had these same fears with your kids? Let me know. I’d like reassurance that we’re not going to turn into those freaky, overprotective parents that we never wanted to become.

The boy shows us a few new moves

No matter how tired I get, there’s no more amazing feeling than watching our son grow into his little body. OK, maybe at 17 pounds it’s not so little, but still …

Try as I might, sometimes I forget how amazing these feats are. My Aunt Sandy was here yesterday and met Oliver for the first time. She stopped by with Great-Grandma Carol. Seeing the joy in their eyes as they held Oliver made me proud and made me think about how cool our little boy is.

The past 10 days or so, Oliver has been showing off his new moves. Since we are now back in possession of our camera cord and can upload pictures again, I present a few of those moves:

Today, he rolled over for the first time. He can go from his back to his stomach, but doesn’t appear to have mastered getting back into his normal position. He makes the cutest faces when he gets propped up on his arms.


He’s also been laughing at us for the first time. Here, he’s laughing at Grandpa Neal during our trip to Springfield, Mo., the previous weekend.


Oliver’s hair has always been full and thick, but now it’s long enough to support a baby shampoo-endorsed mohawk.


And we just started putting him in his “exer-saucer,” since he’s able to fully support his head. Though he’s played with everything (not all the toys are in place in this picture), he’s shown a preference for a goofy-looking sunflower thing.


Soon, he’ll be crawling around and cutting teeth. Can’t wait to see how he amazes us next.

Do you think J-Lo and Mark Anthony are doing this crud?

Jennifer Lopez and I have something in common: Our names shorten to J-Lo. Our families also had babies around the same date (though she had some sort of fertility thing and ended up with twins). I remember the stories of J-Lo’s pregnancy. There was talk about her oversized delivery team, complete with a woman paid $10,000 or $20,000 just to feed her ice chips throughout the delivery process. Such extravagances must be nice. I’m so tired of late that I’m really resenting J-Lo and her husband Skeletor Mark Anthony right now.

Whenever we’re dealing with a screaming child, doing something gross or being pulled in a million directions, I say to Sarah, I say, “Do you think J-Lo and Mark Anthony are doing this $hit?”

I don’t know J-Lo from the next person, other than what I read, but she seems like a real b-hole. Mean to people, gets what she wants, gets far with limited talent. And I’m sure she’s not going through the parenting trials and tribulations that Sarah and I have been experiencing first hand.

  • Do you think J-Lo and Mark Anthony are up at 11 p.m., 2 a.m. and 4:30 a.m. EVERY NIGHT feeding their children?

  • Do you think J-Lo and Mark Anthony have gone 122 consecutive nights without a stretch of sleep longer than four hours?

  • Do you think J-Lo and Mark Anthony are hauling out bag after bag of poopy diapers?

  • Do you think J-Lo and Mark Anthony are getting peed on regularly?

  • Do you think J-Lo and Mark Anthony go through several shirts (and sometimes pants/shorts and underwear) a day because they get puked on?

  • Do you think J-Lo and Mark Anthony are doing what seems like 100 loads of laundry a week?

  • Do you think J-Lo and Mark Anthony pay somebody to take care of their kids overnight? (Oh wait, yes, they probably do. Bad question.)

  • Do you think J-Lo and Mark Anthony have to make special arrangements with family members and take vacation days so they can do things like get their license plates renewed?

  • Do you think J-Lo and Mark Anthony are stressing out because she wants to work part time but her company won’t let her?

  • Do you think J-Lo and Mark Anthony are worried about paying for medical bills?

  • Do you think J-Lo and Mark Anthony push their kids in shopping carts through department and grocery stores, looking for cheap meal items?

  • Do you think J-Lo and Mark Anthony struggle to throw a meal together for dinner, only to sit down at 7 or 8 p.m. and not enjoy the food because they have to get up and attend to their child every 2 minutes?

  • Do you think J-Lo and Mark Anthony are up at 10:30 p.m. on a Friday night blogging about how much they resent some regular schmuck in the Midwest?
I love our boy more than anything in the world, and I wouldn’t change things at all. But man, do I hate that J-Lo and Mark Anthony right now. I’m off to bed now (for probably an hour or less). If “Jenny from the Bronx” happens to be reading this right now, I hope she gives her staff a good night kiss for me.

Frequently Asked Questions – July 7

As happens (I guess) when you’re a new parent, I have been asked the same questions with some frequency of late. That said, I present another in my popular series (though it’s been a while) of FAQs. Enjoy:

Q: How old is Oliver now?
A: He turned 4 months old on July 6.

Q: Is he sleeping through the night?
A: No.

Q: Can you elaborate?
A: I will, if you ask an open-ended question. Please try again.

Q: OK. How is Oliver sleeping at night?
A: Good question, though I am tired of giving the same response. He is not sleeping well at all. On a typical night he wakes up around 2:30 a.m. and 4:30 a.m. for feedings. If we’re lucky, he falls right back asleep. If it’s a night this past Saturday, he keeps us up for an hour or so.

Q: Have you tried [giving him cereal, letting him cry, etc.]?
A: Yes, we’ve tried everything. We’ve read everything. We’ve been told everything. And no, your idea didn’t work.

Q: My baby started sleeping through the night at six weeks.
A: That’s not a question. And it’s also really rude of you to rub that in my face. We can compare stories and have a good laugh about it after I’ve slept for six hours straight for more than three or four consecutive nights.

Q: Are you tired today?
A: Yes.

Q: I thought so. You look like you have bags under your eyes.
A: That’s an excellent observation. Thank you so much for pointing that out.

Q: Enough about you. Can you tell me how big Oliver is now?
A: Yes I can. He went to the doctor today. He officially weighs 16 pounds, 15.5 ounces. His height is 25.25 inches, and his head circumference is 45.3 centimeters.

Q: Wow, that’s a big boy. What percentile is he in?
A: He’s over the 90th percentile for each of those figures.

Q: How is he developing?
A: According to the doctor, his development compares to a baby that’s over 5 months old, so I would say he’s doing quite well.

Q: Is he cooing a lot lately? And, umm, please describe.
A: He coos a lot now. He’s also starting to learn about volume, so he adjusts his voice to different octaves. Just this evening, he made a noise I had never heard before. Sarah and I were a little startled by it.

Q: Is he smiling? Laughing?
A: He smiles all the time. He’s just now starting to laugh, too, which is really cool. Grandma Annette figured out a couple tickle spots today, so we plan to explore those thoroughly in the coming days.

Q: How’s he doing holding up his head?
A: He does OK at tummy-time. He’s been holding his (huge) noggin up pretty well of late. He gets better at it every day. When we hold him in our arms, he’s able to move his head all over. It’s kind of amazing, really.

Q: What’d you do for the Fourth of July?
A: We visited my parents in Springfield, Mo. Had a nice time. Saw fireworks in Nixa (Oliver slept through all of them, even the big boomers). Went to a smoke-free “cosmic” bowling alley on Saturday (Oliver loved the way things looked under the black lights). Ate a lot of good food.

Q: I still don’t care about all these words on the blog. Can you please just shut up and post some pictures?
A: OK, and with that I’m going to end this Q&A. Upon request, below are pictures of Oliver eating food for the first time and taking a bath last week.



Modern technology makes up for lack of geographic luck

Sarah is lucky in many ways, one of which is the mere fact that all of her immediate family lives here in the St. Louis area. Her parents, her brothers, her grandparents, her aunts and uncles. You name it, they’re here.

For my side of the family, things are a little more scattered about. I have a grandmother and uncle who live in the area. That’s it. Two people. Everybody else is elsewhere.

I have one sister who lives pretty far up north, and another who’s been moving all over the country for the past two years on short-term medical contracts. My parents have lived in Springfield, Mo., for 14 years. I have aunts in Vegas and LA, along with a grandma who’s been staying with her daughters in these various locales since moving from her permanent home in La Joya, Texas, about seven months ago.

Growing up, I faced a similar situation. I hardly got to know some of my relatives like I wish I could have done. I’d see some people, like my Aunt Shirley and her family, once every few years. The times we’d spend together were always memorable and awesome, but there was always that initial awkwardness the first hour or day, when you’d feel like, “Who are these people again?” Thankfully, we’ve had bar/bat mitzvah’s and weddings almost every year since 2000, so we’ve been able to grow closer, but it’s still hard looking back on my formative years and thinking about the lack of family contact.

I don’t want our boy to not know his family, so that’s why it’s exciting that modern technology has allowed us to bridge the gap, sort of, in terms of face time with each other. We’ve been using the Skype Internet phone service, utilizing our computers, Web cams and microphones to talk, much like they on the “Jetsons.” Picture phones. It’s pretty cool stuff. My mom gushes when she sees and hears Oliver coo as I hold him up to my laptop. My sister tears up when she sees the boy wave his tiny arm around in circles. Grandma grins ear-to-ear as she catches a glimpse of Oliver for the first time. It really is amazing.

My only fear now is that Oliver will think of his grandparents and aunts as the “people in the box.” It makes sense when you see what I’m talking about. This is what our view of Grandpa Neal and Grandma Sharon looks like:


So what do you do to stay close to distant relatives, short of traveling? Has modern technology allowed you to connect like we have? Any other suggestions?

Last night “out, out”? 365 days ago …

Three-hundred-sixty-five days ago. That was the last time that Sarah and I went “out, out” (the last time we went out to a bar, stayed out late and had a carefree, couple night). We were out a year ago today, celebrating the recently announced pregnancy of Katie, wife of one of my best friends, Mike.

We ate at Dewey’s Pizza in Kirkwood and then walked over to some hole-in-the-wall bar and sat outside. We had a few drinks, but not too many. We didn’t want Katie, the only one who couldn’t drink, to feel left out.

Afterward, we made the long trek home and went to bed. In the middle of the night, Molly (beloved/hated goldendoodle) started barking. That’s what she does this time of year, thanks to St. Charles County being a fireworks hotbed. Anyway, it was hot in the house, Molly was barking and Sarah was crabbing at me, so I got up in the middle of the night. I let the dog out, then slept on the couch.

I was awoken early that next morning, July 1, by Sarah, who shoved one of those over-the-counter pregnancy test sticks in front of my startled, tired face. She was pregnant! Our lives would never be the same. And now we’re here, a year later, with a whole new outlook on life. A life we’re sharing with our HUGE, but adorable nearly 4-month-old boy.

Wonder what next year will bring …