Friday, February 29, 2008

The Streak Continues...

Day 8 and Gilbert continues to sleep all through the night. Oh yeah!

The only drawback is he now wakes at 5am! But, there is an upside. At least for me. Gil wakes because he's hungry so Kristen has to get up since she has 'the boob'. Dad continues to sleep unabated. How nice is that!

I squeeze in another hour of sleep, wake up, shower, make the bed (because I'm a good hubby) - which I hate doing! - and then I take over while Kristen gets ready for her day. In her defense, she makes my protein shake in the morning. Not her favorite chore either! Ah, the compromise of marriage.

Here is the best part. Gilbert falls back asleep about 7am for a 1 hour power nap, usually in my arms. I put him back in the crib and when he wakes at 8am it is like he's waking for the first time that day.

We get to see those awesome 'morning smiles'. You know those smiles from your child as if they haven't seen you for years and the big ear to ear grin appears. Now that is best way to start the day!

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Motor Boat

Who doesn't like the motor boat? Gil has been doing this off and on for awhile, but I'm always curious what it is that triggers him to do it. Because when Gil decides to do the motorboat, he goes full throttle (get it, motor boat, engine, throttle!).

This morning he decided this would be a motor boat kind of day. All morning (the whopping two hours so far...) he's been non-stop generating enough drool to rival a camel. He'll even mimic Kristen or myself if we do it facing him. Now that is fun to witness! I was unable to capture the motor boating in action, but you can see in the picture the waves left behind running down his chin!

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

The Streak

No, I'm not running around the house naked. Well, at least not at these temps!

Instead I'm referring to Gilbert. He's gone five nights in a row of sleeping all through the night. Yippee! His current streak was three, and he'd done that a few times already. What a tease. We'd start to think this was the beginning of a shift in sleeping and then - Boom! - multiple nights in a row of wanting the boob at 3am.

But, five nights. Oh yeah! We have high hopes this streak will become the new sleeping pattern. Kristen still wakes up in the night expecting Gilbert will be hungry, but the last week he has not been in need.

I'm sure, though, but writing this post I've spread bad mojo on our home and he will now revert back!

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Sunday Brunch

We spent the morning in the 'burbs visiting friends. Invited to the home of our friends Brian & KK, we packed up for an early brunch. Of course, with child nothing is too early as we are up by 7am anyway.

Brian & KK are expecting their second child - to be determined! - in a few weeks and wanted to get together prior. Our friends Jen and Tim along with their daughter Kathryn (they are also along their way to child #2 - due in June) were there too, so kids abound!

It was a nice relaxing morning and quite enjoyable listening to Kathryn and Maya (Brian & KK's first) chatter away. I believe the books when they stat girls talk earlier than boys. These two definitely affirm the statistics!

And they played so well together sharing toys and just enjoying each other company. Gil was in full chill mode. He just sat in my lap and took in all the new sights and sounds. After a feed, he was up for some activity so out came the giddy-up 'n go and let the entertainment begin!

I was determined to get some photos of the day, but forgot. In a last ditch effort to get the three kids together, we attempted to prop them up for some quick photos.

Gil was already in his carrier and Kathryn had definitely checked out and was ready for her nap. These are the best photos I could manage of it all. Maya just sat and watched all the parents scramble to keep the kids in place and happy, but eventually even she had her fill and just sat up and walked off to do something more interesting!

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Cabin Fever

I don't know how much longer I can withstand this winter. I don't mind the cold weather, nor the snow. In fact, I welcome it. Makes me think Al Gore is full of it with this global warming thing he's been promoting (yes I know that doesn't mean just warm weather, but the opposite can occur)!

But seriously, I'm over the weather. Bring on the sunshine and above freezing temperatures. Really. Am I asking a lot?

How about temps above zero for a start! I know I have a short walk to work, but with the damn wind chill, my coat and pants are stiff as cardboard by the time I traverse across the city!

Luckily, today could be the start of something good (yeah, right but one can dream right?). With the sun shining and temps just north of freezing Gilbert and I bundled up and headed out for some relatively fresh air in the city.

And the timing couldn't not have been more vital. Even Gil has had his fill of being couped up in the condo. I came out of the shower this morning to find him surfing the net. You know it is the hour of desperation when your newborn is IM'ing other newbies and watching movie trailers!

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

'Bert & Ernesto

One of Gil's favorite toys is Ernie. You've seen Ernie in many pics before as he is the steward of the changing table. I have to give Ernie credit for sticking with Gil. He's been showered numerous times by one of Gil's rainbow pees and Kristen fried his hair in the dryer after a wash. With Ernie's now-tight coiffure, we refer to him as Ernesto; the Spanish Ernie. If I was Ernie, I'd have bolted weeks ago!

This picture was taken by Kristen, Gil's nanny. Yep, Kristen. Saves me the hassle of having to remember a new name! But seriously, she's been awesome and Gil has warmed to her immediately.

Read the bib carefully. That has been a reality lately. Especially when he wakes up from naps. The morning wake up aside, Gilbert has been less than cordial to whoever has to handle him. He just seems to be waking up hard and let's you know it. I'm thinking about investing in earplugs! Usually after about five minutes he'll calm down, but sometimes he gets so worked up...

Monday, February 18, 2008

Small Victories

It is very late - or early - depending on your perspective Monday morning. I'm waiting for a conference call that involves both sides of the world, so with the US being in the middle, I get the crappy call-in time (1:30am).

While I'm waiting for the call to start, Gil decided to wake up. Well, partially. He needed to clear the plumbing and was having difficulty. I wanted to get him calmed down and back to sleep before Kristen woke up. Unfortunately, she came in while I was attempting to soothe him. Now, under normal circumstances she'd put him immediately on the boob. You veterans out there know that the sucking motion clears the pipes quickly.

However, I was determined to get him back to sleep since he really wasn't hungry. Well, after a few rounds of anger accompanied by thrashing, Dad prevailed! Gil fell limp and into his usual deep sleep.

Kristen got to go back to bed faster than normal and now I'm going to take my conference call.


Saturday, February 16, 2008

Night Out

So, what did you do to celebrate Valentine's Day. Not one to get caught up in the trappings of the faux-iday, Kristen and I do go out for a nice dinner and evening.

This year we headed out on Friday for drinks and dinner. As for Gil, I suggested one option was to prop Gil up in front of the television with some toys and a few bottles and figured he'd be good to go for a few hours. Heck, he'd probably fall asleep shortly after we left. Kristen peferred another option. So Katie came over for the evening watch.

Our night out was quite pleasing. We started with drinks at Swirl Wine Bar followed by dinner at Aigre Doux. Swirl was full, but not packed. We had a small table in the back by the trio of musicians playing instrumental music. Quite relaxing. We enjoyed some red wine and appetizer and then headed out to our ultimate destination. Aigre Doux is a French-infused restaurant that provided a full dining experience. And it lived up to expectations. I recommend the restaurant.

Having been out a few times now, the anxiety of leaving Gilbert at home has passed. No calls home to check in, nor our conversation dominated by life at home, it truly felt like being out on a date. But like most of my dates, Kristen fell asleep on the couch the minute we got home!

Gilbert's Economic Stimulus Package

Remember when you were in the hospital and some friendly staff member came by the room to start the process for your child's birth certificate and social security card. They give you the option of having the hopsital initiate the process or you can do it yourself.

After learning it takes 16 weeks if the hospital does it, but only 6 weeks if you go down to the Social Security office and do it yourself in our infinite wisdom, we opted to handle the paperwork ourselves.

Well, 16 weeks later his card arrived in the mail.

Gil is an official citizen now. But those lost ten weeks will haunt him for the rest of his life! Ten lost weeks where we could have established his 529. Ten lost weeks of no personal savings accounts for friends and family to send cold hard cash to. Ten lost weeks...He can't even sit up yet, and we've already failed as parents! Oh, what will we do. The horror! The tragedy!

But I have a solution. Call it our own economic stimulus plan. To make up the monsterous deficit facing Gilbert Nation, we've initiated the "Spare Change Plan". For every penny, nickel, dime, and quarter we find under the seat of the car, in between the sofa cushions (how does money get there anyway?), and all the loose change from cash transacations, we'll donate it to his piggy bank (piggy bank courtesy as a gift from the Hoffmann's. Thank you!).
With bipartisan support and participation, we are confident this stimulus package will plug the huge budget deficit of those lost ten weeks and provide Gilbert Nation the prosperous future he deserves!

Friday, February 15, 2008

Gilbert's 1st Valentines Day

Ah, the cottage industry that is Valentine's Day. Thank you, Hallmark!

A low key day at the Johnson abode, we dressed Gilbert in his best red shirt and with Kristen home for the day had the opportunity to take a few photos.

He's been a bit of a fuss bucket lately waking up twice a night for whatever reason. Sometimes he's hungry (or claims to be!) and other times just seems ticked off. A few times Gilbert has been so ornery, calming him down has been near impossible. We got our first dose last weekend at the Evenson's (prior post) and his 'moments' have occured at least once a day since then.

We know we're suppose to leave Gil crying in his crib so he can learn how to calm and sooth himself back to sleep. Easier said than done! Nobody likes to hear their child scream. And what seems like an eternity is actually just a few minutes. Add to that we live in a condo building, where we do have to be somewhat gracious to our neighbors. Especially at 3am.

Hopefully, it is just a phase and we'll get through it...quickly. Having been spoiled early with full night sleeps or just single feedings, this is stage is totallyinterfering with our beauty rest!

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Daddy Stayed Home With Me Yesterday

Often when Dad and I are hanging out, he is phushing his phingers on this thing. He tells me his is blogging. I don't know what it iz, but it looks like fun. He shoz me pikturs of me and mommy. It maks me smilz. Dad is in the shitter - as he callz it - and mommy is still sleeping, so I decided to try blogging. They don't know I can get out of my crib. Hey, sometimes I'm thirsty and need a drink of water at night!

Yesterday was a good day. Daddy stay at home with me. We had fun playing. He sigms songs that don't make sense to me. Why can't he follow the words?

I was so excited to have daddy home, I didn't sleep all day! I think he wanted me to nap. Said something about work. What is work? We had good tummy time, and he gave me bottle. Yum! Then we watched this show called Oprah. He tells mommy show is silly, but he watches it a lot when she's not home.

But best part of day was when I got sleepy and we took nap together on couch. Daddy is so warm and snuggly!

Ooh, daddy is coming. Got to go. How do I turn this off?

- Gil

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Urban Gil

Kids clothes run the gamet from thematic and traditional to more recent attempts to make style an option to the typical options of sports, animals, etc.

I must admit Gil has fun clothes. Some gifts, some borrowed. I'm fond of this particular outfit. Yes, a big ol' bear is on the front, but with the hood up he looks 'street'. He likes the outfit because it is warm, loose, and comfy!

The only challenge, though, is getting his large noggin through the opening. He screams everytime I squeeze his head through! Note the red eyes from crying. But in the end all is good and the smiles quickly return.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Party Time

Saturday was spent in the suburbs visiting our friends Jon and Suzanne (holding Gil) to celebrate their daughter's, Fayth, 1st birthday. The party was off the hook. Am I allowed to use that phrase?

The house was fully decked out in celebration and the food spread was fantastic. Counting all the kids and parents, the headcount was probably approaching 100. For Gil, this was a good experience to be exposed to a lot of people at one time. He handled it pretty well.
Kidnapped by his surrogate grandmother - Jon's mom Georgia (see picture) - she walked around the party with him for awhile which was nice so Kristen and I could eat and socialize.

However, as 6pm approached, Gil decided to shut down operations. We attempted to revive him with a fresh diap and some quiet time in hopes he might fall asleep, but to no avail so we headed home.

Unfortunately, a bit earlier than planned. His shirt did match the dominant color in Fayth's room and he did enjoy the selection of art on the changing table.

All in all, it was great to see everyone and the party was definitely that!

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Spartan Nation

Today it is just me and Gil. I went out last night to play poker (2nd place, thank you very much!) with the guys, so Kristen gets time to herself today (okay she's at the Merchandise Mart working on a project, but hey, it can't be equitable all the time!).

So, while away Gil and I played. Kristen dressed him in some of his Spartan gear, courtesy of her childhood friend Amy. Thanks Amy! After some play time a good pull from the bottle, he's currently passed out in the crib. We all know nap time does not last long, so PJ used it wisely doing things guys like to do, you know, laundry, my nails, write thank you cards. Stuff like that. Not!

Instead, I cracked open a man-beverage and some snacks, turned on college basketball and handled raw meat for some grilling tomorrow. Ladies, looking for a good Valentine's gift? Nothing says love like some good marinades and dry rubs. I recommend Penzey's Spices. They have local shops in Chicago, but do mail order. Their spices rock! For dry rubs I recommend the Northwoods, but they have an incredible wide selection. Check them out!

PJ's grill tip of the day. When using dry rubs, sprinkle some oil - I prefer Grapeseed - on the meat. The oil adds some moisture when grilling, especially with lean cuts like pork loin or chicken breasts.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Bellying Up

All new parents think their kids does that one thing that is advanced or ahead for their age. And rightly so, it is your child and you are proud of all their accomplishments. For us, Gil seems to be ahead of pace when it comes to his ability to stand up. Forget the fact he already knows how to operate the computer and the grill!

From the start he showed a propensitive for wanting to stand up. Of course, we've been engaging him in activities to further develop his ability. The last two weeks his neck strength and coordination have come together and when we hold his hands, his immediate reaction is to pull up to sit up. However, he likes to pop straight up into a standing position. And once up, he can stand for quite awhile before boredom or fatigue sets in.

In his room we have a step stool Kristen uses as a footrest when nursing. When I'm playing with Gil, I've been using the stool for him to lean on so he can work on his standing coordination and balance. His ability has developed enough now when he is standing he can balance on the stool by himself. And when he does lean on the stool it looks as if he's 'bellyin' up' to a bar.

Well, tonight when Kristen went to the gym I thought it would be fun to capture him 'at the bar'. Apparently Gil has his father's affinity for single malt scotch.

Kristen is concerned that between these pictures and the one from the Super Bowl post, a stranger visiting this blog might think we are unfit parents exposing Gil to alcohol. Rest assured, strangers to the blog, we do balance it out with a good dose of television and sugary foods!

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

The Giggle

Yep, Gil is a giggler. He's had his few occasional laughs or giggles the past few weeks, but now we can get him to basically giggle on command. Usually by blowing on his belly or lightly tickingly him on his sides when he's on the changing table.

However, Monday was the first day where he giggled voluntarily and without touch from us. We weren't doing anything in particular, but he showed a big smile and let out a fantastic giggle! Made us laugh in response.

His changing table continues to be his 'happy place'. Whether good mood or bad, laying on that soft fuzzy changing pad is an immediate 'change in atttiude' for the little man. He starts to kick, squirm, smile, coo, and most recently the 'motor boat'. I could watch him all day!

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Super Bowl

Back home from a fun, long weekend in Dallas visiting my sister and parents, I was looking forward to watching the Super Bowl with Gil. However, Gil found more interest in my beverage than the game. He doesn't care for the taste of beer. Not yet, anyway!

All I can say is, Goose Island is a quality beer and if you are going to encourage underage drinking, do it in the privacy of your home!

But seriously, Gil never got to the beer, and the pictures on the right captured his just completed dinner that luckily didn't land in my beer!

The Flight Home

After a great, fun weekend in Dallas it was time to come home. Packed up, and checked in we made our way through the maze that is DFW airport security. Gil chose this precise moment to announce to the world he was hungry and demanded to be fed right there and then.

Being the cool and calm parents, we smiled and let Gil cry doing our best to be nonchalant about the fact the entire security line was staring at us. Again, I'm sure everyone was hoping they would not be on the flight with that kid!

Well, Gil showed no signs of letting up and actually responded to our inaction by turning up the volume on his discontent. We succumbed. Determined not to step out of the growing, snaking security line, Kristen pulled an emergency bottle of formula (I call them 'one-hits'). He scarfed that 2.5 oz like nothing. Luckily, it was enough to get us through the strip search and to the gate where she took Gil to a secluded area for a proper feed.

The flight home was packed solid. Oh boy and oh well, we thought. May Gil repeat his first airplane experience. It was up and down, but the flight was a quick one and we were on the ground, in the car and home before we knew. Actually, we almost got home quicker than our parents did driving from Dallas to Houston! And most importantly Gil picked up his first set of 'wings'!

Big D - Day 2

My parents drove up on Friday from Houston for the weekend. It was a first for them too to have both grandkids together. This was nice as it allowed Carrie, Matt, me, and Kristen to go out for an evening.

Now, as part of the trip to Dallas we covertly planned a photo shoot of the six of us to surprise our parents. Well, my mom sniffed out the plan. My dad may have known too, but he never let on. My money is on him not knowing. Regardless, we captured some terrific photos.

The photo shoot was a lot of fun. Unfortunately, Gil has taken to sticking his hands in his mouth. The photograher earned his money capturing moments where it appears as if Gil is smiling at the camera. If you look closely at Gil's photo, you will notice the color of his shirt is a bit darker under the collar. That would be drool.

Regardless, we did get some great photos of the group, the individual families, Gil & Maddie together, and then individuals of the kids. Here are a few!

Bloopers and Fun Pictures

Anyone with kids knows catching the perfect photo is usually accompanied with multiple 'misses'. This occurs with one kid, now imagine orchestrating two! So, here are a few bloopers along with some fun moments.

Gil & Maddie

So, a big reason for the trip to Dallas was for everyone to get together, see the new additions, and just enjoy hanging out. For Kristen and me, we were curious how Gil would compare to Maddie simply to observe their differences since Maddie is almost seven months old basically double the age of Gilbert.

It was fun to watch the two interact. Well, really to watch Maddie act as Gil was still oblivious. As the week did pass, he became more aware of Maddie and would, on occassion, focus on her. Here are some of the good moments we were able to capture of the two together. Enjoy!

Visiting Big D - Day 1

Recapping our trip long weekend trip to Dallas, we (Team Johnson) departed Thursday morning. For those of you who live in the area, you know how lucky we were to get out of Chicago.

Wisely taking an early flight, we were delighted to learn the load was only 30%. However, waiting in line to check in, we were now those people as other travelers stared at us with kid and supplies in tow. The looks ranged from "Hope they aren't sitting next to me" to " What a good looking family!" (yeah right!). After fumbling with the car seat at the check-in counter we worked our way through Midway's crack security. Ever try to take your shoes off standing up with a baby strapped to your chest? You'll quickly learn how good your center of gravity is. Well, after using Gil to successfully smuggle some C4, a short sword, and my 8 (if TSA is reading this, I"m just kidding!) we grabbed a quick breakfast sandwich from Potbelly's and made our way to the gate - farther one at the airport.

We we pleasantly surprised to see a gaggle of kids with their parents and their gear in line for the preboard. So we wouldn't be the only people keeping the passangers awake! Actually, we were all able to spread out and Gil was fantastic on the plane.

But back to the weather. We were late leaving the gate, were deiced twice, the copilot had to 'visually inspect' the wings - which consisted looking out the windows on each side of the aircraft from the exit rows and then giving a 'thumbs up' to the pilot. Safety inspection, complete!

2 1/2 hours later we were in Dallas where 40 degrees felt like 80 compared to the negative temps we just departed. My sister, Carrie, picked us up and we headed to her house. There, Gil met his cousin, Maddie, for the first time and both Carrie and myself got to see our respective niece and nephew for the first time as well. Here Maddie and Gil have their first encounter where she dominated him in their first 'stare down'.