“Hello Again, Hello …”

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Long time … no blog

Hello, my friend.  Sorry I have been away for a bit.  My last blog led to many friends on Facebook reaching out to see if I was okay.  I wasn’t.  When I wrote that blog, I obviously was a bit frazzled, but had yet to reach my breaking point.  That only took an extra few days.

I’m not going to go into a lot of detail, but I finally cracked.  Emotionally.  Mentally.  Physically.  The stresses alluded to in my previous blog, and the stress of everything that is going on eventually led to this.  During a visit with my physician, she stated that she was very concerned about me.  She decided it was best for me and my health to be off work for a few weeks.  I am hoping she is right.

Quarantine 

Since the doctor visit, I have been home.  I have only ventured out in the car a couple times – to pick up groceries we ordered online and once with Sam (more on that in later).  Many think I am crazy, but after the things I heard and seen at the hospital, the first thing I did when I brought the groceries home was set them on the porch.  With gloves on, I went bag by bag and wiped everything down with bleach wipes.  How do I know who touched the things we bought?

Remember the blog I wrote about things to do while at home?  Yeah, despite the sudden abundance of extra time, I haven’t really had a chance to do much of what was on that list.  The stack of unread books remains unread – for now.  Exercise – I took a walk or two and put leaves in bags (does that count?).  Plenty of movies I have yet to watch.  Clear coat on the wall in the kitchen – can’t do any home improvements.  Organizing digital music and folders and radio stuff – you would think I’d be on the computer more than I have been, but I am not. Clean the basement – I did this partially.  So many things on my list that I just haven’t done.  Sigh.  How damn sad is this?  I finally have the time, but just can’t put myself in the right frame of mind to do them.

Hand writing So Many Things in To Do List, business concept

Social Media

While I am trying to limit my time on social media, I admit, I still get on Facebook more than I should.  It’s not that I don’t like it, it is just that it is flooded with so many things I am trying to avoid.

  • Political Bullshit.  Blaming Republicans and Democrats for everything.  Trump bashing.  Trump Praising.  Governor bashing.  Governor praising.  Polarizing stuff.  The world is full of division and it shows on Facebook.  You have your right to your opinion and to post what you want, however, I have programmed myself to scroll by this stuff.
  • Corona Virus  – Covid 19 stuff.  Being in the hospital setting, I know the numbers.  I know the severity of it.  The various theories and conspiracies and people re-posting every article they find to “prove their point” is NOT what I need to see.  The only things I pay attention to are the things posted by the CDC and World Health Organization.
  • Sad stories.  There are PLENTY of them.  Emotionally, I know they are out there, I just can’t handle them.

I have a page I update called Celebrity Passings.  When a celebrity dies, I post a picture and farewell.  There have been more than I can count lately – some Covid 19 related, some not.  My heart is just not in it right now.

One thing I am enjoying are some of the Facebook “games” that are out there.  One of the ones I am doing right now was a challenge to post an album that influenced your musical taste for 10 days.  In support of the 2020 seniors, some are posting their own high school senior pictures (I need to do that).  Another one that was fun was to zoom in on a picture of an album cover, or a scene from a TV show or movie and post the zoomed in part to see if people can guess what it is.  I zoomed in on Doc Brown’s eyes from Back to the Future – LOL!  Great Scott!

Family Time

The one thing that I have been able to do is spend time with my family – at least most of my family.  It has been very nice to spend time with my wife and daughter. This certainly has been a wonderful way to de-stress.  Ella is getting so big, and it is amazing how her features seem to change every day!

I have been feeding the baby more lately.  She often will fall asleep while eating.  When this happens, I usually let her sleep in my arms.  I may have mentioned this before, but one thing that I love is when she smiles in her sleep.  It is just so cute.

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She is actually smiling a whole lot more.  She has a little floor mat with toys that hang down from it.  She loves lying on her back and looking at the toys.  She’s also been able to hold her head up for longer periods of time. She has a “Bumbo” chair, and she loves sitting in it.

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Ain’t it cute how she is giving us a “thumbs up” in that picture?

When the weather cooperates, we’ve been trying to get out and walk the neighborhood.  The other day it was 70 degrees.  The following day we had temps in the 30’s and 40’s with rain, snow, wind, thunder, and some sunshine!  Only in Michigan!  I had the chance to do a daddy/daughter walk through the neighborhood.  It was very relaxing and she enjoyed the time in the fresh air.

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This will be Ella’s first Easter.  We had hoped to have some professional pictures done, maybe one with the Easter Bunny.  Obviously, with the current situation and social distancing, that can’t happen.  So we’ve been trying to get some pictures here at home.  We’ll post them on Facebook for Easter.  During today’s shoot – I had to laugh.  In one picture, she curled her lip up like Elvis!  Just typing this makes me laugh.  Here she is channeling her “inner Elvis.”

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Her hair continues to baffle us.  Some days it looks brown.  Some days it looks blonde.  Some days it looks red!  A red-headed Italian?!  Oh boy, am I in trouble!!??

Missing My Boys

As I stated above, I have had the chance to spend time with almost all of my family.  My sons are with their mom as this quarantine continues.  I haven’t seen them in almost a month, maybe more (all the days are running together).  I have video chatted with them a few times, but I miss them.  When we do talk, I always have the feeling that their mom is looming over them and they aren’t free to talk.

One call from my oldest made me especially sad.  The 4th was my mom’s birthday.  She would have been 72.  Every year, my sons and I visit her grave at the cemetery.  I was planning on going, but that day, I took a new medication that was prescribed by my doc and the side effects hit me pretty hard.  I was dizzy, lightheaded, and felt sick.  I took a nap and when I woke up my sons had called.  I called them from bed to tell them I was staying home.  They video chatted with me from the cemetery.  It was sad that I wasn’t they with them.  They were both in tears.  My oldest was upset because he was close to her.  My youngest was upset because he never had the chance to meet her and it still bothers him.  I told them that when this was all over, we’d go and visit.

It has just been awful not seeing them.  I miss them terribly.  My oldest video chatted yesterday and was showing me that he is growing his beard.  He turns 18 tomorrow.  I won’t even be able to hug him!  I have a gift for him.  I plan on wrapping it and driving it to his house and leaving it on his porch for him.  I told him I bought a cake and will make it and celebrate when we get the chance to be together.

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Special Trip

Outside of going to the grocery store, I have only left the house one time.  Actually, it was me, Sam, and the baby.  I was feeling down.  Sam said we were going somewhere.  She said she had wanted to do this for a few weeks.  It obviously wasn’t a restaurant or anything, so I had no idea what she had in mind.  We all got in the car and she drove.  She drove to the cemetery.  She knew I was upset that I didn’t get to go with the boys, but she also wanted to take Ella.  She said it she wanted Ella to see one of the Pamela’s she was named after.

As you can imagine, it was emotional for me.  Sam brought a blanket and Ella and I laid on it by my mom’s grave.  My mom always hoped for a granddaughter.  I know she would have spoiled her big time! Just like with my youngest son, it makes me very sad that she never got to meet her grandma.  Sam’s grandpa is also buried at the same cemetery, so we took Ella to see her great grandpa, too!

It was a very special trip.

No Moe

One of the changes that happened recently is that we had to find a new home for one of our cats.  We had two.  Moe was our first.  Then we got Maizey.  Moe was huge.  He ate so much!  When we brought Ella home, we worried.  How were they going to react?  They both did well, so we didn’t think we were going to have issues.  We didn’t, until one night we found Moe in Ella’s bassinet.  He was laying on her, and we knew this was dangerous.

We didn’t know what to do.  By a stroke of luck, my sister-in-law’s ex’s parent’s cat had died recently.  They were looking for a cat!  They took him and treat him like a king!  We heard he has eggs for breakfast – at the table!!  He has his own heating pad on the couch.  He is living it up.  I miss him, but am happy he found a good home.

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As for Maizey, well, when Moe was here, she was moving.  She never laid by you.  She never let you hold her.  She never purred.  Well, that has all changed.  She loves being by us now.  She meows and likes her tummy rubbed.  She always seems to be by me now.  She loves to be petted and now purrs like nobody’s business.

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Happy Easter

We’ll be staying home for Easter, obviously.  We’re not even sure what we are doing for Easter dinner.  But we plan on dressing up and enjoying our day as a family. We have an Easter basket for Ella and a very cute Easter outfit.  I am sure there will be many pictures!

Faith

I’m not one to push religion on anyone.  I understand that everyone believes what they want to believe.  I realized how far from my faith I have been through this whole situation.  Over the past two weeks, I began watching messages from pastor friends of mine, and got back into reading my bible.  A friend asked me some questions about the Antichrist and it was fun to re-study that topic and chat with her.  Bottom line, my faith is important to me.  It is a key element in my coming out of this in a better frame of mind.  I plan on spending a bit more time focused on that (and Him) in the future.

A friend of mine took this picture in Grand Blanc this week (about 30 minutes south of here).  It was such a beautiful picture, I want to share it here.  Enjoy your holiday.  Happy Easter.  Count your blessings.

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I appreciate you reading.  Sorry to have been away for so long.  I’ll get through this.  It just may take some time.

I hope to be back to my normal blogging self, soon.

Be safe.  Be well.

Keith

 

 

 

 

Fatherly Observations (AKA “Things I Forgot About Having a Newborn”)

Sam and I sat down to start filling in the baby book we received for Ella.  It’s a very nice book and has little pouches to keep her first lock of hair, baby hospital bracelet and other things.  It has places to place her ultrasound pictures, foot and hand prints, and so many other things.  In the weeks and months ahead, we will track various milestones in it.  There is a LOT of writing involved.

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Some of the things the book asks are actually a bit hard to remember, even though the thing only happened within the last 9 months!  Some of it is hard to put into words.  Some of the stuff I have written about in blogs, and may just print them out and put them in the book!  The whole reason for a baby book is so that sometime in the future, she can look through it and read about all the stuff that happened when she was a baby, right?

So we need to write this stuff down while it is fresh in our minds – before we forget them.  Believe me, there will be things you will forget!  Ella will be three weeks old on Monday.  In the time we have had her, she has brought many smiles, and also caused me to remember all kinds of things I had long forgotten about.  Here are just a few:

Baby Sneezes

This was actually the title I considered for this blog.  The first time I heard Ella sneeze, I grabbed my “Blog Ideas” journal and wrote it down.  A sneeze isn’t such a odd thing, I mean, we all do it.  A baby sneeze, however, is so tiny, soft, and gentle.  I had forgotten just how cute these little sneezes are. Gesundheit!

Get a Grip!

How do you even begin to put into words how awesome it is to have your baby grab onto your finger?  I can’t.  I know as she grows, her little hand will grasp onto mine as we walk through the store, but there is something so cool about her little hand grabbing onto your finger and squeezing it.  Those hands are powerful!  I was holding her with just a tank top on this week and her little hand grabbed a handful of my chest hair and I winced with pain – wow, that hurt!

Sharp as a razor

Baby fingernails could easily be a weapon!  They are SO sharp!  They always seem to be grabbing at their faces and as parents, we try to stop that so they don’t scratch themselves!  This is obviously a concern because many of the onsies have arms that actually fold over the hand to keep them from scratching themselves. I was holding her this week and those nails drew blood on my shoulder as she scratched me.

Ch Ch Ch Changes …. of clothes

I used to make fun of a friend of mine who used to always seem to change outfits two or three times a day.  Well, for a baby, this is so true!  They sometimes go through four or five outfits a day because of various reasons.  There always seems to be a load of clothes ready to go into the laundry!

Speaking of laundry, I had forgotten just how much I love the smell of baby laundry soap.  Whether it is All Baby or Dreft, I just LOVE the smell of it!  The first week I was back to work, I actually washed my sweatshirt in her laundry soap so I could smell it at work and think about her.

Baby Faces

One of the most amazing things about watching a baby, whether awake or asleep, is watching the many faces they make.  Sam sent me a slew of four or five pictures, all taken within a two minute period as she was waking up – they are awesome.  You see everything from happy to sad to disgust to wonder – and all the emotions in between!  Our OB/GYN had a big print of his daughter making faces in his office.  I think I may just stand over her one day with my camera to catch a variety of them and then put them into a big collage.

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You’ll Need More Time

A lesson I had forgotten:  You are now on HER time, not yours!  You have to factor in diaper changes, feedings, and so many other things before you do anything or go anywhere!  We had a 10:30am doctor appointment on Friday.  The doc is about an hour away.  I think we were up at …. 2:30am to get ready for it!  Seriously!   We had to give the baby a bath, get ourselves showered and dressed, and by the the time we did feedings and diaper changes we barely made it out the door in time!  There is SO MUCH more preparation to get out the door now!

Whoa!  That’s Heavy!

Truth in arithmetic:  8 pound baby + 10 pound car seat = 500 pounds!  I cannot figure out for the life of me how this all works out!  Maybe it is just the way you have to hold the thing?  You gotta be friggin’ Superman to carry that thing for any length of time.  I am not ashamed to admit I am winded carrying her to the car in this thing!  It’s like the baby has rocks in her pockets to weigh it down or something!  At the end of the day, I am popping ibuprofen and applying heat and ice to my arm and shoulder!

Holy Crap!

Literally!  As a parent of a newborn, you are up to your ears in poop!  They poop – A LOT!  It is not odd for me to change a diaper, and immediately hear her poop again!  I gotta be honest, sometimes I am jealous!  Here I am taking fiber just to stay regular and she can poop at will!  The last time I pooped like her, I was preparing for my colonoscopy!

The Need For Speed

Speaking of poop and diaper changes in general, you gotta be The Flash when you change a baby! I mean it!  I forgot that the new diaper has to be under them as soon as the old one is taken away.  You gotta time it just right or you will regret it!  I was changing her on our bed the other day and Sam was talking to me while I was mid-diaper change.  I was distracted.  I wasn’t fast enough.  She asked me a simple “yes” or “no” question, but it was enough to slow me down.  So as I began to answer it, Ella peed all over my side of the bed.  You gotta be fast!

Side note:  One good thing about changing a girl is that if she does pee, its dripping down and not being shot at you like boys.

It’s a Blowout!

Honestly, I didn’t forget about diaper blowouts – but I have tried!  These are traumatic!  We’ve had a few already!  These result in an immediate bath – or an entire box of baby wipes (depending on where you are)!  The anticipation of a blowout is why every diaper bag in America includes 15 outfit changes!  They are so terrifying that there is even a product available on Amazon called the “Blowout Blocker!”

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Parents everywhere are wishing they had come up with that billion dollar idea!!

Baby Sounds (That Aren’t Crying)

Baby’s make noise.  Crying is their favorite sound to make, because it is their primary form of communication at this early stage of their lives. She is not cooing quite yet, but I am looking forward to that.  For now, I get to enjoy three other sounds –

  • Burping.  She is not an easy burper.  Sometimes I am patting her back or but for 20 minutes before she burps!  When she does, it is either tiny or epic! There is no rhyme or reason for how loud it is.
  • Farting.  Farting comes easy.  Sometimes her “toots” are a bit more than a toot (see above paragraphs on poop!).
  • Hiccups.  Baby hiccups are so cute.  Sometimes I feel bad for her, though, cause she seems to have them for quite awhile.

Soothing Sounds

I don’t claim to have the best singing voice. No one is going to sign me to a big record deal.  I do, however, like singing to my baby girl.  I sang to both boys when they were babies, and now I sing to her, too.  Sometimes she likes it, sometimes she doesn’t.  I think it may be her mood.  I really hope it isn’t my song selection – I don’t know too many by heart!

We were both amazed the other day when the hair dryer turned on.  She had been fussing and crying and when it turned on – instant silence.  It was weird.  Last night, we ran the vacuum cleaner and it had the same effect!  I don’t recall whether the vacuum bothered my sons, but something tells me that the floors will be spotless if she gets cranky! I may keep the hair dryer next to my side of the bed for nights she is upset.

Snuggles

Ella spends a lot of time with mommy, and rightfully so!  She is breastfeeding, so she gets to be in mommy’s arms a lot more than mine.  When I do get the chance to hold her, I love when she is alert and looking at me.  I get lost in her eyes, I kiss her cheeks, I play peek a boo, and just enjoy every second!

I also love when she falls asleep on me.  There is something so special about just holding her.  This week she fell asleep on my chest and didn’t move for over an hour. I stared at this little miracle and thanked the Lord for blessing me with her.  Time stood still as I spent most of that time staring at her.  Of course, I had to sneak a picture to remind me of this very special moment.

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Smiles, Everyone!  Smiles!

I forgot just how much I love to see a baby smile!  According to many sources, a baby’s first smile should take place when they are about 2 months old.  According to parents.com, anything before that time is considered a “reflex smile”.  Reflex smile or not, I just love to see it on her face.  Recently, Ella was in my arms dozing off and she began to crack a smile, so I grabbed my phone to snap a picture.  My friend, Dawn, used to always say “Smile!  It’s contagious!”  She is right, because when Ella smiles – I smile!

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Which Dwarf Am I?  Sleepy!

Lack of sleep is one thing that I did NOT forget about!  The only reason I am getting more sleep than my poor wife is that she is breastfeeding.  She is up every two hours with her feeding her. I am glad for the days when I am home from work, so she can actually get a little break between feedings.

Quick Change

The saddest thing I had forgotten about having a newborn baby is just how fast they change.  She has only been here for three weeks and she has changed SO much since she was born!  Just this morning Sam asked me if I noticed how long her eyelashes had gotten.  I mean, it’s insane!  The facial features, the hands & feet, eye color, and so many other changes are happening.  I guess that’s why I am glad I am taking so many pictures!

The days will turn into weeks.  The weeks will turn into months.  The months will turn into years.  With each second that passes, my little girl will grow up.  I will love her more and more as time moves forward.  I hope she will never doubt for a second that she is Daddy’s Little Princess.

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