Thursday, August 30, 2007

State of Perpetuity

Ladies, you know what I'm talking about. At some point toward the end of your pregnancy the inevitable sets in. For us, that happened last week.

We have eight weeks to go and it is official. Kristen is in a constant state of being uncomfortable. Oh joy!

Baby J is either sitting on her bladder, pushing into her rib cage, or doing some inutero breakdancing. The result? A constant flow of "Uhh" and "Ooofff" coming from my wife in response to the little guy's constant maneuvers.

Bending over to pick things up requires assistance and sleep, well, let's not go there. She doesn't sleep, so I don't sleep. And I thought we bought a memory foam mattress so I can sleep while she wrestles restlessly!

But how fun is it to see the kid moving just under the surface. I swear, he's coming out with green skin, scales and a forked tongue the way he rolls and moves around in there!

As for being constantly uncomfortable, Kristen claims she feels good during the day, but it is at night that the condition sets in. Then again, maybe it is just the effect of being around me!

Monday, August 27, 2007

Baby J's Awesome Baby Quilt

As most of you know, my mom makes quilts. And she rocks at it! A lot of my friends have one - whether for a baby or as a wedding gift.

Well, Baby J just had his big shower and the booty was quite impressive (I'll talk about that in a separate post). One of the many items was the quilt made by 'Gram'. To the right is that quilt. To see it in larger size, click on the photo.

The Bears and Cubs hats are obvious as is the cowboy hat. The golf ball - as you can expect - represents my past sports while the soccer ball does the same for Kristen. The sailor's hat is symbolic for the actual hat I used to wear when I was a 'little guy'. It belonged to a family member who served.

Anyway, just wanted to give my mom the some props for her fantastic work.
For those of you who don't have one of these quilts, but want one. I'm taking orders!

Living the Fantasy

What do dads and grown men do to escape reality and responsibility? Play Fantasy Football!

Now in our 8th season, the Armchair Coaches get together the last weekend in August to select their team and begin another year of pretending to know more than the real general managers of NFL franchises.

Aspirations are high (as they are every year)as each manager believes they have assembled the best team in the league. However, by the end of the day some are still holding on to that dream while for others it is quickly evident what team(s) are already vying for the #1 pick next year in the draft!

Always a good time, we gather in the 'Manbasement' at Tim's house for the 'live draft', to partake in low cal foods such as beer and chips but also to simply get away from the ladies. Just kidding. Maybe not!

A draft board shows the order of picks for each manager and provides a pseudo stage for walking up and announcing your picks (however, it is a challenge to get some of the guys off the couch to walk the five feet and write down their pick!).

Most of the managers reside in Chicago (thus vying for Chicago Bears is a strategy in itself - except for Chico who fancies himself a Packers fan), but two live abroad. Can you find them in the picture? (Headshots are actual size!) .

For those not present at the draft, they are connected remotely. Mastering the art of making efficient inefficient processes, each remote manager is emailed players selected and then conferenced in for their 'live' pick. Unfortunately, Ken doesn't read his emails so he inevitably picks players selected rounds prior! Also, missing from the picture is Bada Bing who had already departed for his second draft of the day. Perhaps in the future, we can get ESPN to broadcast our draft live so other managers will know what is going on! Then again, if Ken would just move back to Chicago, PROBLEM SOLVED!

Regardless of the outcome, FF is always a fun time. Between the trash talking, getting together on Sunday for the games, and the competition for cash prizes, what else could be better. My sleeper pick is Reinheimer, because when serious money is on the line, he comes to play!

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Check out Mama!

Having not posted the latest pics of Kristen and the growing, kicking, punching bulge known as Baby J, here you go. To the left is week 29. Below is week 30. Enjoy!

She looks good, yes! Of course, she'll tell you othewise.

Note, the quilt in the picture to the right was handmade made by Kristen's grandmother.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Pedialyte. It is not just for kids anymore...

Kristen just had her first shower. Hosted by her sister and sister-in-law in Michigan at a very cool, quaint castle-turned-B&B, all the women in her family were in attendance.

Arriving back on Sunday with her treasure trove of Baby J goodies, I noticed a bottle of what is called Pedialyte. New to me, I decide to do some research. The experienced mom knows about this product already, but basically Pedialyte is an electrolyte replenisher for kids who are sick and dehydrated. Pretty cool. Hats off to the person who invented this gem of an item!

However, turns out Pedialyte has other benefts.

On Monday I'm at my therapist (PHYSICAL!) and I'm telling her about this stuff. And she - her name is Erin btw, informs me of this nutjob of a runner that did 50 ultramarathons in fifty days - one in each state - including 146 miles across Death Valley. Turns out he attributed his success to Pedialyte. Drank 8 gallons of this stuff during the Death Valley run. The stuff is a child's version of Gatorade sans all the sugar.

Maybe he's on to something...

Monday, August 20, 2007


So, last night I'm settling in to bed for a little spooning so I can 'rub the belly' before it is lights out for PJ. It wasn't hard to find Baby J. He seemed to be quite active. Lots of constant jabs, I thought. But they were so rhythmic. Then Kristen realized, he had the hiccups!

Poor guy! His whole body seemed to be convulsing. The episode only lasted about ten minutes and Kristen was close to a tear feeling bad for the little man. Was it something she ate? Drank? Puzzled, I was determined to learn more!

Well, after some heady research I can safely report, not much is out there on this phenomena. Theories abound, though, and they focus on the intake of amniotic fluid (which is normal). Either by drinking or 'breathing' in the fluid, a reflex is triggered - much the same type of oesophageal reflex we experience. This was a first for us, but supposedly it can be quite common and frequent in maturing fetuses. However, my theory is he takes after his mother and drinks and eats so fast hiccups result!

Friday, August 17, 2007

529s Just Got Better!

For all of you with kids, chances are when you hear 529 plan you know what's up. However, you might not be aware of changes made that enhance the value of the plan and level the playing field among the plethora of options available. The improvements passed this year by Congress (yes, the US Congress! Finally, something productive.) has improved the quality and value of investing in a 529 for junior's college future.

All the details can be found in an article from the August issue of Money Magazine details all the changes and provides an analysis of every states' plan along with a step-by-step process for choosing the plan best for you (and the little people in your life) along with how best to monitor the plan over time. Further the magazine provides recommendations on the best plans.

So parents, parents-to-be, and grandparents (Mom? Dad? Read up! Baby J needs you!), check out the article. Why? College costs in recent years are climbing at 6% - double that of inflation - making a four years a public school run about $125,000 in 2022. And that's just for tuition, room and board. Oh yeah, if your child gets into private school? Say goodbye to $300,000. Ouch!

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Breaking in the New Digs

Not only is it exciting to have Baby J enter this world, but we get to welcome him in a brand new hospital. Literally. Northwestern Memorial is opening their new Prentice Women's Hospital the week of October 20th. Baby J is due a week later.

Kristen's doctor has told her she could literally be one of the first mother's in the new hospital. How many people get to say that! Information on the new hospital has been hard to come by beyond the basics - private rooms, family-focused waiting areas, capacity for more than 13,000 births a year, blah, blah, blah.

But, I've located the good stuff. The real information that is of value. For example, each room has wireless access. This is critical. Studies show exposing a newborn to the internet increases the chance of early acceptance to new technology. Not to mention Dad can be kept up to date of his Fantasy Football team. Especially if the little guy decides to come in on a weekend.

Also, the hospital will have full service retail stores. No way my kid is departing the hospital in a plain white onesee. I can now purchase top of the line newbie clothes from the leading retailers!

And of course, there is the food. No more red jell-o. Me and the misses can eat in style at gourmet restaurants. And 24-hour room service is available! I wonder if Wolfgang Puck will take Aetna insurance as payment!

In all seriousness, the new hospital will provide the services and amenities every women deserves! However, there is a remote chance, we, er, Kristen, could give birth in the old hospital and they would then wheel her butt down the street into the new hospital. Hey, I'm just along for the ride!

Year of the Golden Fire Pig

According to the Chinese Zodiac, Baby J will be born in the year of the Pig.

However, this year is a special year. It is not only the year of the pig, but rather THE YEAR OF THE GOLDEN FIRE PIG! According to Chinese folklore, this is an event that occurs once every 600 years and is said that babies born in that year will experience a prosperous and wealthy life.

So, I'm counting on him to carry me through retirement, because the government surely won't be able too!

When a colleague of mine in the Hong Kong office learned of Baby J's impending arrival, she sent this pig as a gift and gesture of the Chinese Zodiac calendar. How thoughtful!

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Birthing in a hot tub? Cool!

I've been hearing (and reading) about water birthing and its advantages or benefits - specifically for the baby and mother. Immediately, I thought, what about me?

What are my benefits?

I envisioned relaxing in the tub with my wife, naked (you know, as a show of support!), listening to some soothing music, perhaps indulging in an adult style beverage and then through such a harmonic setting the baby would quietly, painlessly slip out; much like emerging from a covered slide at the playground. I can even picture the kid coming out with arms extended and a "Weee" sound being made from such an exhilarating experience.

Of course, I was wrong. Sure, soothing music is playing and the mom has the freedom to shift positions during labor to mitigate the pain and discomfort, but what about the baby? Well, benefits for him exist as well. Turns out the transition is less drastic than the typical 'plucked from a warm bed in a dark room and thrown naked into the snow at broad daylight approach' otherwise known as traditional birth.

But when I discovered that water birthing required natural delivery, Kristen (who was originally open to the idea) gave me that "I know you have dumb moments, but are you freakin' kidding me!" look that said "let me pluck a basketball out your you-know-what without pain relief".

So, water birthing is out. Oh yeah, no beverages are allowed either.

And I was so looking forward to wearing my new swim trunks!

Monday, August 6, 2007

Field of Dreams

Week 28 begins today. For those sports movie buffs, the name on the sign should bring back the memory of a certain baseball movie.

Anyway, we found it at a hip, retro sports and apparel shop on Armitage Ave. and thought it would be perfect for Baby J's room.

His activity seemingly increases daily. We've coined his latest movement the 'gator roll'; this slow, deliberate full body roll that encompasses Kristen's entire abdomen. Ladies - I'm sure you remember that feeling! Anyway, from an outsider's perspective, IT IS TOTALLY AWESOME!

Friday, August 3, 2007

Parent Training

The last of our group of friends (of those that are married!) to have a child, we are getting our training in preparation for Baby J. Actually, we love our friends' kids and enjoy spending time with them whenever possible!

Kristen is lucky to be the Godmother for Taggart and I'm fortunate to tag (pardon the pun) along for the fun.

Here are some recent photos from a trip to the Lincoln Park Zoo - Tag's birthday present from us!

What you don't see are the pictures of Tag running around the park quite content in his nakedness (well, not completely). Guess he gets that from his father. Good ball, Stash!

If it was up to the men, the human race would go extinct

Let's face the ugly truth. If it were not for women, the species of humans would go extinct. Not because we need women, you know, to do that thing we do, but rather to deal with the aftermath of when that thing we do is a success.

I watch what Kristen has to go through in utter amazement. I have a high tolerance for pain and discomfort, but to subject myself to it voluntarily. I DON'T THINK SO!

Now don't get me wrong, overall Kristen's pregnancy has been easy (scratch that, is pregnancy ever 'easy'), er, typical, in comparison to what it could be, but my sympathy for the daily challenges she faces.

I'm not even going to address the 'clothes don't fit syndrome', but add together heartburn, leaky (fill in the blank here), swollen feet, skin challenges, mood swings (for example, she was just irked with me yesterday and I did nothing to deserve it. We'll at least this time. She says, "I just woke up mad at you." Thanks a lot!), and game changing swings in appetite and the cold truth is ladies are every man's hero for 9 1/2 months.

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Baby J has a cousin!

That's right, Baby J is not alone. I'm proud to announce my sister, and her husband Matt, have just had their first child!

Madelynn Cate Reese was born on July 9th. Yep, the same day I was. Now I can share my birthday with my niece! No excuse to forget her birthday! Maddie and her parents are doing great!

Working Backwards

Well, since this blog is new, some of our earlier activities in preparation for the little guy have passed, but are still worth sharing.
Here's the nursery in an early stage and Kristen at week 22. Looking fine, but what's that bulge?

Week 26... and counting

We are keeping busy with preparing for the arrival of Baby J. The nursery is progressing nicely (as you can tell from the picture) and Kristen looks fantastic. However, she might consider that debatable!

Wednesday, August 1, 2007


The official blog for Baby J and his parents, littlemanbigcity chronicles his arrival to this world and will cover all the highlights of his development and discovery in Chicago.

As visitors to the blog, you will be witness to the tender, precious, and surely precocious moments the little guy will provide us (and you)!

So, welcome, and let the wonderful world of Baby J begin!