Category Archives: goldendoodle

Picnic at the beach (sort of)

We took Oliver to the beach for the first time on Saturday. Well, sort of — it was the beach at Creve Coeur Park in Maryland Heights, Mo. So nothing too special.

It was a nice day, with a temperature in the low 80s and low humidity. So we packed up a picnic lunch and headed up there. OK, so it wasn’t quite that easy. Did you know that it now takes us about 10 times as long to get out of the house as it did before we had Oliver? Seriously, we thought of a million things while getting ready and even had to run back in the house a couple times before backing down the driveway. Yeesh!

So where was I? Oh yeah, so we headed to the park. We brought Molly along as well. Once there, we put Oliver in his stroller and found a nice table to make our own. Doesn’t this look pleasant:



After eating, we took the dog over to the beach area and let her swim. Sarah and I always get a kick out of watching Molly excitedly and awkwardly swim, but Oliver didn’t seem as amused. Here’s a short video of Molly and Oliver from the beach:


We then took a short walk. After packing back into the car, we decided to stop by this little farm on the way home to pick up some fresh peaches and other goodies. However, as I picked Oliver out of his car seat to carry him into the stand, Sarah noticed gobs of brown stuff (yes, poop) oozing out of Oliver’s outfit. So we had to change him. And man, was it disgusting. Let’s just say that we have been giving him a couple different foods lately and the colored mess he left looked like one of those side-by-side shakes from Steak n Shake. Yuck. But we did make it in, and the peaches are delicious.

What a fun, but tiring day.

Sarah’s maternity leave comes to an end

Sarah’s maternity leave comes to an official end tomorrow, with her return to work. She’ll be working Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays for a few weeks while we resolve our childcare situation and work out details with Sarah’s mom regarding watching the boy.

We have decided to split overnight “Oliver duties” on the nights before Sarah works. We did a test run last night, and my end of the deal was quite raw. If it’s like this every night, I could return to my “zombified” and cranky employee status of a few weeks ago.

To start, Oliver is not sleeping through the night yet. We had a breakthrough a few weeks ago, but it was short lived. He’s been eating every three or four hours, 24-7.

Last night, we set up his new FisherPrice monitoring deviced (the Sony ones we had been using made terribly hissing and popping noises) and put him to bed around 10 p.m. Around 2 p.m., we could hear him crying and the receiver for the monitor was flashing red lights (the louder Oliver is, the more lights that flash). Our room lit up like a police crime scene. It was obnoxious.

I agreed to take the first shift, so I went down stairs, warmed some milk for a bottle and went to Oliver’s room. It took about 30 minutes to feed him, burp him a few times and rock him back to sleep. I hit our king-size bed around 2:30 a.m. I had a million thoughts in my head and my heart rate was up pretty good due to walking around and flipping lights on and off. I must have been in bed a full hour before I decided to get up. I went into the computer room and played an old Nintendo game for over an hour. Then I went downstairs and had a bowl of cereal and played with the dog. Molly wanted none of me, giving me a “please just let me sleep” look.

Finally tired, I went upstairs around 5:30 a.m. I heard Oliver screaming as I turned to enter our room. Sarah was getting out of bed for her feeding shift. I threw my Springfield Cardinals baseball cap over the monitor receiver to block the flashing lights and went to sleep. Was up for good around 8 a.m. What a night.

I’m sure it was equally rough for Sarah, who’s really upset that her three-month maternity leave is coming to an end. I told her I could return to my roots (as Jen and Kristine suggested a while back) and move to a more affordable house in Florissant so she could stay home full time, but Sarah wants nothing to do with my old ‘hood. Guess we’ll just see how it goes. I’m sure I’ll post something in a few days to let you all know. In the meantime, keep Sarah in your thoughts.

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.

Where has Justin been lately?

I haven’t written a blog post in several days. And I don’t even feel like doing this now. However, I’m caving to the pressure of loyal readers such as Jennifer Hatton’s mom (just kidding; I’m really happy to have you here!).

So where have I been? I’ve been super busy of late. I’ve had about four or five blog ideas in the past week, and I’ve had pictures as well. I just haven’t had time to write anything.

A few days ago, for example, we had Oliver’s great-grandpa Gil’s 90th birthday party. We had a blast, just talking and hanging out. We even played Wii together. Gil loves to play bowling, and he’s pretty good at it.

Then on Saturday we went on a massive, and long overdue, shopping trip. On Sunday, we took Oliver to Grant’s Farm for my work picnic. It was a little chilly and made for a long day, though we had fun. When I got home, I needed to grade papers for the courses I’m teaching in my spare (“spare”? How funny is that?) time. However, our thermostat wasn’t kicking on and it was getting cold in the house. As Sarah prepared for the thought of taking Oliver to spend the night at her mom’s house, I went downstairs and worked on the unit. Thankfully, I know how to read the HVAC Morse code-like blinking light. Turned out it was just a burnt fuse that needed to be replaced, so I took the thing apart, found the culprit and head to Home Depot. Of course, HD didn’t have the damn thing, so I had to head across town to AutoZone. Got the part, came home and the unit worked fine. I then graded papers until bed time.

Yesterday was a complete blur. To give you a better understanding of how my day went, I thought I’d break it down by time. Here you go:

6:30 a.m. – Wake up for work
7:20 a.m. – Leave for the office
8 a.m. – Arrive at the office (BTW, this long commute that I’ve been doing over the past three years is ABSOLUTELY KILLING ME – it’s taken years off my life and I wish we could afford to live in certain areas of St. Louis County that are, quite frankly, out of our price range at this point in life)
Noon – Eat lunch
12:30 p.m. – Back to work
5 p.m. – Leave work
5:45 p.m. – Arrive home (again, the long commute was a blast)
5:50 p.m. – Help calm Oliver, help with dinner, clean up the kitchen
6:45 p.m. – Eat dinner and clean up afterward
7:15 p.m. – Head upstairs to grade papers
10 p.m. – After finishing grading, head downstairs and am given Oliver and told by the wife, “I’m going to bed. I’ve had him all day and I’m tired.” I’m like, “I have also had a long day.” The wife shrugs it off.
11:30 p.m. – Awake from awkward and light sleep, startled and ready for bed. Let the dog out and head upstairs, where Oliver wakes up and starts feeding. Of course, the lights are on the entire time, and he’s grunting and snorting. This is causing our dog, Molly, to bark from her crate downstairs.
12:30 a.m. – Oliver finally goes to sleep. I’m wide awake due to the commotion that took place over the past hour. Plus, the darn lights. I don’t know how I could have physically gone back to sleep. Google the words “sleep,” “light” and “melatonin” and see what that cocktail of items does to your sleep cycle. Do it now. This page isn’t going anywhere. We can wait for you to come back.
1:30 a.m. – Oliver is awake again, snorting and ready to eat (again! just an hour later!!!)
2 a.m. – Fed up with laying there and thinking about my alarm going off in a few hours, I head to the guest room. I lay there for an hour, listening to Oliver cry and snort, and getting angry at our dog, who is now barking rhythmically every 1 minute or so
2:45 a.m. – Finally fall asleep for good.
6:20 a.m. – Wake up for work.
7 a.m. – Start this blog post
7:20 a.m. – Head out to my car to start the whole cycle over again.

What a day, and what a frickin’ week. Hopefully things will slow down soon, though I have 25 more papers to edit this week, plus there are about 80 more due this coming Saturday. Sorry to rant so much in this post, but it makes me feel better. Plus, I know that there are a lot of new moms who read this blog, so maybe (just maybe) a lucky husband out there might catch a break by someone who finds some sympathy for me.

Home is where the dog is

The Lopinot clan was released from the hospital this afternoon. The drive home wasn’t as tough as I imagined it would be. I had heard stories from a few friends who drove with extreme caution, rarely touching the speed limit. Instead, I just zipped along as an almost-normal pace.

Once home, we introduced Oliver to Molly. That relationship has been a fun one to observe develop. So far, Oliver has screamed his little head off and scared the bejeezus out of Molly. In turn, Molly has barked at Oliver on several occasions.

Among the highlights of the first day home:

  • An awesome meal cooked up by mother-in-law extraordinaire Annette

  • Blocking a blazing pee that unexpectedly shot out of Oliver like a rocket while changing his diaper (my hand was soaked, as was the carpet and couch – nice!)

  • Changing a diaper and hearing Oliver toot before an exploding mass shot into a perfectly clean new diaper and grazing my hand

I’m sure there will be more exciting things to report on in the coming days. Below is a picture of Sarah, Oliver and me right before we left the hospital and a photo of Oliver meeting Molly.


Molly, you’re going to be a big sister soon

If only Molly, our sweet but spastic goldendoodle, could comprehend words other than “biscuit,” “ball,” “poo-poo,” etc., this is what I’d like to tell her right now:

“Molly, you are going to be a big sister soon. Being a big sister requires big responsibility. You will be 2 years old in a few weeks, so I expect you to be a big girl and act your age.

“Though the 90 percent of the attention this family receives now falls squarely on your hairy back, that’s going to change soon. It’s no longer going to be about you, 24-7. You’re going to have to share, and often give up, the spotlight. But I’m sure you’ll find the attention sharing to be worth it, because you’re going to have a new buddy in your little brother. You’re going to love him as much as you love mommy and daddy. I’m sure of it. He’s going to look up to you (only literally for a few years), and will learn from you throughout his life.

“You have a lot of positive traits to share with our son:

  • I’m sure he’s going to have a great sense of humor from all the times he laughs at you, whether you are chasing your tail but just can quite get a grasp, or diving headfirst onto your bed in anticipation of a tasty rawhide.

  • I’m sure he’s going to be the baby with the cleanest feet, as you’re quite generous in doling out your little wet kisses. In fact, you’ll be happy to note that you’ll finally have somebody who cannot say “no” to your advances. How awesome will that be?

  • I’m sure you’ll teach him about good hygiene, as you sprint to your rug to have your teeth brushed or up the stairs to leap into the tub for a bath.

  • I’m sure you’ll be his constant companion, awaiting flying Cheerios and carrot sticks when he’s sitting in his high-chair. Just please eat everything that falls, OK? We don’t want to raise a picky eater.

  • I’m sure you’ll be there to show him how good little boys and girls are potty trained.

  • I’m sure he’s going to want to learn to swim after watching you paddle across the lake after a stick.

  • And I’m sure you’re going to teach him how to be obedient when you’re asked to be a good little girl.

“Of course, I know that with the good comes the bad. I can’t change you, try as I might, but good little girls need to lead by example. We don’t want our son to learn bad behavior by watching you:

  • Stand at the back door and bark at blowing leaves or just because you’re bored.

  • Run up to strangers and tinkle on their feet.

  • Take treats from strangers.

  • Run away when we yell, “Come here” or “Get in the house.”

  • Hop around in the back seat of the car while mommy and daddy are driving.

“Later in life, as you grow from a good little girl to an upstanding adult, I expect you to have a long-lasting and positive impact on your little brother:

  • I expect you to sit with him while he watches all the cartoons and Disney programming that mommy and daddy cannot bear.

  • I expect you to be his best friend, even when he’s going through his awkward phase. Just never rub it in that you can grow a long, full beard but us Lopinots cannot.

  • And I expect you to teach him about the importance of lifelong learning. Yes, that phrase about old dogs not being able to learn new tricks won’t apply to you. You’re too smart and you have too much fun learning new things.

“But the biggest subjects I expect you to teach our son are love and life. Yes, someday, Molly, you’re going to be an older sister. A much older sister, in fact. You see, dogs just don’t live as long as humans. It’s a sad, sad thing. All that joy that you will have brought into our lives over the next 10-12 years will be taken away from us at some point. I’m sure that mommy and daddy will cry. In fact, I guarantee it. But I’m also sure that our son will cry even more. He’ll be entering a new phase in life. It will be the first time that he has to live his life without his little buddy, his big sister.

“So cherish your time with him. Lead by example. And be a good big sister, Molly. Though Sarah and I won’t always be looking at you, we will still love you just the same. You have a lot of responsibility in raising a good little brother.”