Monthly Archives: March 2009

U.S. Rep. Todd Akin: STOP CALLING ME!!!! (Part II)

You may recall an earlier post about our telephone buddy, U.S. Rep. Todd Akin. Well, this guy is at it again. Tonight, during dinner, this goof ball called yet another time (I stand by my earlier post, in which I stated that three people call us on our home line: My mom, Sarah’s mom and Todd Akin). And again, the call featured a recorded message with an invitation to sit in on a conference call.

I immediately hit “0” to join the queue of people awaiting a chance to speak to this wonderful public servant. I couldn’t wait to politely ask to be removed from his calling list. Instead, I sat on the line for several minutes before our phone went dead. Oh yeah, and a catch: The recorded message at the beginning of the call warns you that you cannot use your telephone line for up to 30 minutes after you hang up. That’s right … this guy can call you up without permission, then clog up your telephone line for a half hour.

Well, I’ve now had it up to my ears with this guy so I got online to look up his telephone number. I’d like to personally leave him a message to ask him to remove my telephone number from his call list and apologize for interrupting my life at least once a month. Anyway, you call in and there is no option to leave him a direct message. I’d also like to know why he’s calling me. Is it because I’m white and live in St. Charles? Does that automatically make me a stereotype? How can I have my voice heard?

So please, if you work for Mr. Akin and see this blog post, please look me up in your database and remove my telephone number. And then please call me (yes, I’m giving you permission to call just one more time) to let me know that my number has been removed. I work during the day, so you can simply leave me a voice mail. That’s fine. I’ll feel much better knowing that you’ve actually listened to a constituent.

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Visit from Jennifer, Carrie and my mom

We had a really fun past couple of days. My sister, Jennifer, was in the state from Minnesota. She drove up to St. Louis with my mom and other sister, Carrie, to hang out for the weekend.

It’s always bittersweet to see Jennifer. She comes into town maybe twice a year. Sadly, we’ve only been able to visit her once since she moved up north. I wish we had the money and time to visit her more frequently. We’re lucky to see Carrie, too. She’s in Springfield for just another week before heading off on her next “traveling OT” job (next stop, maybe Boston).

Anyway, the clan arrived Friday, and Oliver was really shy. But he warmed up quickly. He spent the weekend showing off, being cute as always and even taking a few nervous first steps (we’re not saying it’s his first official “walk,” but he’s close).

Saturday night, my mom watched the boy, giving us a chance to head out for some drinks. We went to the International Tap House in Chesterfield (500 beer selections!).

Overall, we had a great time. Though we had hoped for better weather and some cool outdoor activities, we got cold weather and a ton of snow. Oh well. Today was a bit sad, watching the three of them drive off. We saw Jennifer last year around this time and then not again until Christmas. Sad. We love us some Jennifer time (and Carrie/mom time, too!).

Here’s a picture from today, when Jennifer and Carrie were goofing around with Oliver:

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Songs for baby’s first birthday video

For Oliver’s first birthday, I put together a 15-minute video. It’s too long for YouTube, plus I used a lot of songs that I wouldn’t be allowed to post. The video features “B-roll” footage and photos from March 6, 2008, to March 5, 2009. Coming up with great photos and video was easy. Coming up with good songs to include? Very difficult.

I had to do a ton of research to find just the perfect songs. While I can’t post the video here (but would be happy to show it to people in private), I’ll post the songs that I used so as to hopefully help out some other ambitious parent.

Here’s the list:
1.) “Memo to My Son” by Randy Newman. You know this guy. He’s the voice for a lot of Disney tracks (“You Got a Friend in Me,” for example). This song is great, with lines like, “I know you don’t think much of me, But someday you’ll understand, Wait’ll you learn how to talk baby, I’ll show you how smart I am.” Plus, it starts with a nice, banging piano, which was perfect for the first clip I used.

2.) “My Darling” by Wilco. One of my favorite bands, one of the sweetest songs. I believe this Beatles-esque tune was written Jeff Tweedy’s son. Between the music (soft piano, melodic tune), lyrics (lines like “Because we made you, My darlin, With love in each of our hearts, We were a family, My darlin’ right from the start”) and the fact that this is an awesome band made this song an easy choice.

3.) “Little Sack of Sugar” by Woodie Guthrie. For this segment of my video, I inserted some goofy pictures for laughs. This was a great selection. It’s a cute, fun little song by an American legend. What a classic sound.

4.) “Godspeed (Sweet Dreams)” by the Dixie Chicks. This was a tough song for me to include, because I’m not a country music fan by any means. However, it’s a pleasant little tune with lyrics that matched up well with the images I inserted of our boy sleeping in various places (in his cradle, in his crib, on a shoulder, on my chest, etc.). Plus it fit the hole vacated by the deletion of a Loudin Wainwright III (Rufus’ dad, for my younger readers) song that my wife didn’t care for.

5.) “Who’s My Pretty Baby” by Elizabeth Mitchell. When Oliver cries in the car or just plain-old needs to be settled down, we pop in a CD (or mp3) by his favorite musician, Elizabeth Mitchell. We’ve listened to tons of kiddie music, and she’s more than tolerable. I find myself humming her tunes all the time. This is an update of a song that I believe was either first sung by or made popular by Woodie Guthrie. Peppy and upbeat and just a lot of fun.

6.) “Beautiful Boy (Darling Boy)” by John Lennon. Written about Lennon’s son, this is a real classic that fit in nicely with the other songs I selected. And who can forget the chorus of “Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful … beautiful boy?”

7.) “My Boy” by Neil Young. I only had time for about the first 30 seconds of this track, but it worked out great. You see, this song was written about Young’s child when the boy was a little older (the song mentions school being out). But the first two sections are ambiguous enough to work. Here’s a sample line: “Why are you growin’ up so fast, my boy? Oh, you’d better take your time.”

Anyway, I hope this helps somebody out there in cyberspace. I could have used a resource like this when putting our son’s video together. I spent hours and hours listening to songs and dissecting lyrics.

Let me know what you think. Do you like my selections? Any other songs that you can think of that would have been nice for this project?

Oliver’s first (of many, hopefully) Blues game

First off, let me say the obvious. Well, this should be obvious to anybody I’ve been around for the past week. I’ve been a real crankypants, angry and frustrated with just about everything. If it’s not obvious to you, it will be after reading this post. That’s for sure. Anyway, last week, the only thing I was really looking forward to was taking Oliver to his first St. Louis Blues game at Scottrade Center. The Blues were playing the hated Detroit Red Wings, and the game was starting at 1 p.m. Perfect for our little guy.

Sarah and I headed out around noon and got downtown just in time to make it to the rink. However, there was a problem: The stinking, f’ing St. Patrick’s Day parade!!!! We got stuck in traffic for about 45 minutes downtown, just trying to park our car. Every drunk guy with green body paint and a little plastic derby on his melon just got my blood boiling. Every parking lot was full. Every road was bottlenecked. We finally parked the car and made it into the building with about five minutes left in the first period.

We spent the end of the first period watching the game from a side rail. Oliver enjoyed watching all the lights and looking at all the people. We then went to our seats. There, Oliver enjoyed clinging to his momma the entire time. Well, at least between eating Cheerios and staring at the woman seated to our right.

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Right before the second period ended, we headed out to the family restroom. Have you used one of these things at the Scottrade Center before? Did you even know about them? Well, here’s a little interesting tidbit for you: Grown men like to poop in these bathrooms. They wait there, then go in and have a nice quiet bathroom to themselves. We stood in line behind some scuzzy old guy for a few minutes before some duece-dropper exited in shame. The scuzzy old guy in front of us must have decided to clinch it a bit longer, or he felt guilty for waiting for the family restroom, and he let us cut in front. Inside, we did the usual. … changed Oliver’s diaper, got him dressed. Man, did it stink in there!!! So gross. Scuzzy man was still waiting, along with two other guys that could have been his brothers.

Next, we headed over to the food court area where we shared a soda and pretzel. Oliver was really liking this snack time. There was food and lots to look at.

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Finally, we headed back to our seats to watch the rest of the game. The Blues had their butts handed to them, though the place was really, really loud. Despite that, Oliver took a bottle and fell sound asleep. He slept through the end of the game and almost all the way to the car. I had to carry him, and my back was really hurting. The boy does weigh a ton.

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An hour later, after navigating around St. Louis and St. Louis County due to St. Patrick’s Day parade street closures and Highway 40 being closed, we made it home. I couldn’t have been happier (OK, I was still cranky, so sue me).

All in all, it was pretty stressful. Not like I imagined. However, I did get a rush being at the game with the boy. I can’t wait to take him again when he’s a little older. It’s going to be so much fun.

Oliver enjoys his first birthday party

Oliver really enjoyed his first birthday party. Held Saturday, we invited close family to attend. The boy was all smiles, all day long. Here, he’s enjoying his favorite activity (banging $5.99 rings on our coffee table) as he stands in front of the massive pile of gifts:

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He got a lot of really awesome gifts, including some cars, lots of summer clothes, a wading pool, an interactive refrigerator magnet set, this ball-popper-upper (can’t think of another way to describe it) toy, some LIttle People stuff and a Radio Flyer wagon.

Though we didn’t have a theme (with apologies to one of my most loyal readers, Julie S.), we has a color scheme — blue and green. Our “cake” was in line with this scheme. With thanks to our good friend Katie, we used a cake pan shaped like a giant cupcake to make the cake. Sarah did a nice job on it. Here’s a picture of Oliver as we were singing “Happy Birthday”:

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In addition to the giant cupcake, we had little ones. We gave Oliver one, but he didn’t mash into it like most 1 year olds. He just sort of picked at it for a few minutes and then gave us a look like “What’s going on here?” Instead, we spoon-fed him some ice cream. Here’s a picture right before he gave up on the cupcake:

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We goofed around inside and out for the next couple hours. Here, I was holding him and jumping up and down to make him smile and laugh:

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Then we got the Radio Flyer wagon out and took Oliver for a walk up and down our court a few times. He really enjoyed it, as you can tell:

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All in all, it was a good first birthday. Sarah and I have been truly blessed over the past year, and we are just so happy to have our little boy with us. Year number two should be another memorable one.

Oliver celebrates the big 1 (our baby’s first birthday)

It’s really hard to believe, but our little sweet baby boy is now 1. Oliver has been around 365 days. Crazy. I can hardly get my mind around it.

To celebrate, Sarah and I both took the day off work. And what a day it was. If you think our son is beautiful, you should have seen the weather today in St. Louis. I believe it was close to 80 degrees. But I’m getting ahead of myself. Let’s go through the day picture-by-picture:

After his morning feeding, we showed Oliver his big gift from mom and dad. It’s a Fisher Price Learning Home. It’s got all kinds of fun activities on it. He has enjoyed it off and on all day (he usually darts away from everything and over to our coffee table, where he can bang rings and cups around).

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We also opened some cards that came in the mail this week. He enjoyed “kissing” them (half of his kisses involve pressing his forehead against something).

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Later in the morning, we celebrated the official time (9:16 a.m.) he was born. Here we are by our fancy microwave. Exciting.

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After his morning nap and a lunch of turkey, cheese and yogurt, we packed up the vehicle and headed down to the St. Louis Zoo. We also busted out his St. Louis Cardinals hat for the first time. Isn’t it cute? We thought he looked sort of like Beaver Cleaver.

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After checking out animals for a couple hours, we visited the ZOOmagination Station. It’s a kid-friendly area with lots of activities. You have to get a pass to get in, so there aren’t a lot of people in there. It was fun and relaxing. Oliver didn’t get too crazy. He mostly liked looking at himself in the mirror. He gave himself a lot of kisses.

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A lot of kisses … and long stares.

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After a while, he stepped away from the mirror. He stood by himself for almost 15 seconds. It was the longest we have seen him stand on his own. Pretty cool.

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All in all, he had a good time. We got lots of smiles. Here, he’s laughing at an Okapi.

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Right now, he’s crawling around the living room … waaaaay past his bedtime. We kept him up because his grandparents, my sister and her boyfriend were coming in town for the weekend. He’s cranky, so I’m going to be signing off. I’ll have more tomorrow, as it’s our official birthday party.

Not-so-big birthday today at the Lopinot household (Molly turns 3)

There was a big birthday at the Lopinot household today. No, you didn’t forget about Oliver’s birthday. It’s this Friday. No, today is Molly’s third birthday. Yep, our dummy of a dog is now 3 years old.

If today didn’t give Molly a clear indication of her status in the family, I don’t know what will. For her first two birthdays, we bought her way too many gifts, gave her treats and did something fun with her. This year? She spent the day in her crate and the evening pretty much just sitting around while we tended to Oliver and cleaned the house. We did give her a special treat (plus, I snuck her some pork chop after Sarah went upstairs to start Oliver’s bath).

So here we are, still celebrating at 10:45 p.m. OK, so we’re not really celebrating. I’m goofing on the computer while she chews a toy. Fun stuff.

So to Molly: Happy third birthday. Maybe we’ll take you for a walk this weekend or let you lick a plate. Fun stuff.

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