Sunday, December 30, 2007

Taken Earlier This Month

We've had these pictures on our camera for awhile and finally pulled them off tonight. These were taken the weekend we picked up the Christmas tree. The same tree I had to take down the week prior to Christmas before we headed out of town. Let me tell you how much of a Grinch I must have looked dragging that tree down our alley into the dumpster in mid December.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Black and White Christmas

A rare picture of both Kelly and I with Ashley taken just a few minutes ago. Hope everyone is doing well.

More Christmas Pictures

My brother Lee posted more pictures from this past weekend. Click here to view these pictures.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007


Merry Christmas everyone! We hope you had a great holiday and enjoyed the company of your families. spent Christmas in Cuyahoga Falls and had a surprisingly relaxing week.

We arrived early in the week and I was fortunate to be able to work from home while Kelly was able to enjoy the woods/scenery/solitude with Ashley. It was a much needed break from the city.

Here are some highlights:
  • Bought a pretty slick bb gun w/ scope and had some shooting games with my brothers (yes, I am almost 30 years old)
  • Used my old climbing rope and made a tree swing over a ravine
  • Built a few fires
  • Went trudging through the woods/rivers around my parents house
  • Went to the Cleveland Cavaliers vs Golden State NBA basketball game and sat in a private suite
  • A flock of turkeys literally attacked our bedroom door today but by the time I grabbed the bb gun they had flown away
  • Played poker with my brothers, dad and grandfather
  • Went climbing with Kelly for the first time in a LONG time and found out how out of shape I actually was
  • Went swimming with Ashley
  • Went on a long hike through the woods with the entire family
  • Had a cookie decorating contest with everyone (somehow a "sunny side up egg" cookie won)
Here are some pictures that my mom took on her camera over the week: My brother Lee is in the process of uploading and posting pictures he/I took using his camera. I'll post a link to his Picasa account as soon as they are up.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Ashley's First Christmas Tree and Snow

Katie and Tom came over yesterday to help us pick out and decorate Ashley's first Christmas tree. We had our first snow of the year too which provided for quite the festive day. Below is a video recapping our adventure: (direct link:

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Trip to the Farm

One of Kelly's high school friends owns a hunting farm outside of St Louis. We were fortunate enough to be invited to this beautiful place on Saturday and stayed over for one night.

The farm is 500 acres in size, has a 1 acre man-made lake and was built without using 1 nail. It's perfectly designed for the land, overlooking the lake and forests. Hunting is definitely priority number one and most of the limited number of crops growing were for the deer/turkeys.

Here are some pictures from the 2 days:

Thanksgiving in St Louis spent Thanksgiving in St Louis this past weekend. Tons of turkey were consumed (2 full meals to cover both sides of Kelly's family) and good times were had.

Unfortunately, I forgot my camera so was unable to take any pictures on Thursday. Here are some pictures from the following day:

Sunday, November 4, 2007

At The Park visited the park yesterday right down the street. It was a crystal clear blue sky day and the temperatures were crisp. Good times!

Halloween in St Louis

Here are some pictures from Halloween in St. Louis. Ashley went trick-or-treating with Cousin Eddy and had a great time. They dressed up as a "pumpkin patch". So cute.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Playing With Cousin Eddy

Here are some pictures of Ashley playing with cousin Eddy the day after the Nichol wedding or

Monday, October 22, 2007

Pumpkin Patch

Kelly's vision of a chilly fall day at the pumpkin patch partially came true. It was 80 degrees outside, the pumpkin patch was more of an amusement park w/ 800+ people, there were no trees in sight and security guards were dispatched to control the crowds and cars. Oh living in a big city...

Here are some pictures from our trip to the pumpkin patch yesterday with Uncle Tom, aka the man about to be married in 5 days.


Ashley Swimming

Ashley went swimming for the first time last weekend. Here are some pictures (

Monday, October 15, 2007

Grandparent Visit headed to Cleveland this past weekend to hang out with my parents and brothers. I'm trying out a new slideshow functionality of Picasa. If this doesn't work, you can go directly to the pictures:

It's Getting Cold

I'm not really sure if the below look is a "i look so cute, don't i" or a "get this off of me". We like to think it's option #1.

Monday, October 8, 2007

Ashley Photoshoot

Kelly grabbed the camera today after Ashley's nap and took some pictures. Here is a direct link to the pictures:

Grandma/Grandpa Strauss in Town

My mom and dad came into town this past weekend. We had a really fun yet limited time together. They arrived on Saturday morning and left on Sunday early afternoon. We watched the Cubs lose on Saturday (and boy was it crazy in Wrigleyville) and then my dad and I watched the Steelers beat up on the Seahawks on Sunday.

Thanks for everything mom and dad!

Our Little Sweet Potato

Miss Ashley Jane is starting to make the switch from boring old breast milk/formula to some solid fruits and vegetables with actual taste and she is loving it!

Here is her current list of favorite foods:
  1. sweet potatoes
  2. bananas
  3. pears
  4. apples
  5. green beans
  6. peas
Here is a picture of her digging into some sweet potatoes.

Saturday, October 6, 2007

Thursday Mom's Group

Ashley gets to hang out with her friends every Thursday while Kelly attends a mom's group. Here are some pictures from 9/27/2007.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

10 Ways You Will Change When You Become a Parent

I found a great list today about the 10 ways you will change when you become a parent. You can find the full list here.

My favorite:
Sensitivity to Noise - When you’re spending a good deal of time trying to get a baby to go to sleep, you’re going to make damn sure that you do everything in your power to not wake that kid up. That could mean anything from avoiding certain rooms or even parts of the house to using a totally inconvenient door just because it’s quieter than the closest one.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Fantasy Football

This is for all your fantasy football players out there.

CAUTION: The below video's are not very PC/clean/safe for work/etc. In other words, they should be rated R.

However, they are incredibly funny.

Fantasy Rules #4

Fantasy Rules #3

Fantasy Rules #2

Fantasy Rules #1

Monday, September 24, 2007

Ashley and Cousin Eddy

Here is a video that we filmed a few weeks back in St Louis. Ashley is with her cousin Eddy (Kelly's brothers son) who is 14 months old.

The best part of this video is at 27 seconds. Ashley makes THE cutest sound and face.

FYI, I'm not sure why the video quality is so bad. The video before I upload is great but YouTube just really messes it up somehow. Does anyone have any input as to what I might be doing wrong?

Friday, September 14, 2007

Ashley Email Address

All, I just created an email address for Ashley. I did this so a) I could reserve a good name for her and b) we could email things to her that will be meaningful when she gets older and takes over the account. Like things we are learning about her, things she is learning to do, experiences we encountered, etc. I think you get the picture.

If you ever feel the desire to send an email to Ashley feel free: ashleystrauss at gmail dot com.

FYI, the above address is formatted to disable automated systems from scanning this site, extracting any email address and then adding to a spam program.

Ashley is 6 Months Old

Crazy, we know. She had her 6 month checkup this week and all vital signs are humming along. She is 15 lbs 2 ounces in weight, 26 inches tall, in the 90th percentile for height and 50th percentile for weight.

The pediatrician asked if she took after daddy being tall and lean and mommy's reply was "no, he's short and squat." Lovely.

Here are some pictures from the first Steelers game and then pictures mommy took yesterday after the appointment.

Here is a direct link:

Tuesday, August 21, 2007


I thought I would just give you the minutes of our day:
7:oo pm bath, massage, bed
5:00 am Eat
8:00 am Wake/Play (independent play time)
9:30 am Sleep ( Screams for usually 1 hour then goes to sleep)
10:30 am Wake / Play w/ mommy (songs/exercise/books)
11:00 am Eat
11:30 am Stroller (run errands)
2:00 pm Eat
2:30 pm Rocking chair w/ mommy (songs/ stories)
3-5 pm Walk in Bjorn/stroller (anything to keep little bits happy/maybe a nappy or two)
5:00 pm Eat
6:00 pm DADDY'S HOME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
7:00 Bath, Massage, Eat, Sleep

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Strauss Family Vacation just returned back to the Chi from an amazing vacation to Napa Valley and Lake Tahoe in California with my family. Below are some details about the trip and some pictures. My brother Lee took 99.99% of all the pictures because he's got talent. Here are all the pictures and then my mom's pictures.

Saturday, August 11, 2007
Our flight from Chicago O’Hare to San Francisco was scheduled to leave at 8:00am CT. Both Kelly and I were both a bit anxious about the 4 hour flight so we didn’t sleep too soundly. Everything was packed up but the amount of gear we had was impressive. We had 6 pieces of luggage to get to the airport: 1) my suitcase 2) Kelly’s suitcase 3) Ashley’s suitcase full of clothing and toys 4) the diaper bag 5) a pack-and-play which is a portable crib 6) my electronics bag.

The flight went surprisingly well. Ashley started to get a bit fussy so I put her in the Bjorn and walked around the plane until she fell asleep. Luckily, Kelly was able to get some rest and watch a movie.

The flight arrived around 10:30am PT and by the time we picked up our luggage and hulled it over to Enterprise, we were on the road to Napa Valley by 12:00pm PT.

After a few stops along the way, we finally arrived into the crowded town of Napa by around 3:00pm PT. By this time, Ashley had enough of the car seat and was letting both Kelly and I know. We needed to find a place to stop immediately and agreed that we would stop at the next winery. Lucky for us, the next stop was V. Sattui Winery.

V. Sattui was a beautiful place. In the midst of the incredibly dry land of Napa, was a perfectly manicured green lawn dotted with big trees to provide shade for picnics. It was a great spot for little Miss Ashley to stretch out and roll around until my brothers and parents arrived into town. Their flight from Cleveland arrived an hour later than ours so we intended to meet up somewhere in Napa. They finally arrived around 4:00pm PT.

Here is a picture of Ashley getting spooked when my family arrived:

After a bit of socializing and some wine, we all left and headed to the house we had rented for 2 days. It was located here. The house was simply amazing. It was nestled in the middle of vineyards and mountains.

Here is a picture of the house in Napa:

Since Ashley lives in the Central Time Zone, Kelly and I tried very hard to keep her on her schedule even though we were 2 hours behind. We have learned that it is a constant struggle to keep babies on a schedule or else you can run into some BAD days. So, we have put Ashley to bed at her same time which is 7:30pm CT or 5:30pm PT. It seems awfully early when doing it but it’s something that we had to do. Unfortunately, this means no late dinners out. Thankfully we have amazing parents and brothers so we opted for cooking out instead of going out for dinner. For the first cookout, we had steaks, corn on the cob and salmon for the 2 vegetarians.

Exhausted from the long day, we went to bed super early.

Sunday, August 12, 2007
Sunday we spent the majority of the day in wineries. Not a bad day!

We started out at the Silverado Winery. They had a beautiful patio with a great view that overlooked the vineyards. We were able to sample 4 of their wines.

Here is a picture from the patio at the Silverado Winery:

We then visited the Rubicon Estate Winery. This place was top notch. They had a valet service in front of a beautiful trellis covered stairway. The wine here was ridiculous. Definitely the best we had the entire trip.

Here is the entrance to the Rubicon Estate Winery:

The last winery of the day was recommended from my cousin Craig Joseph who just finished a year in Sacramento. The winery was the Arger Martucci Winery. I have to say that CJ was spot on with his suggestion. Vince Martucci lead us in a tour of their winery and allowed us to taste some of the wine straight from their barrels. They were fantastic and the wine was incredible. I highly suggest it.

That evening my mom cooked some portabella mushroom pizzas with potatoes. Tasty.

My brother found the Wii video game system in Cleveland so he purchased me one and brought it with him on the trip. That evening after dinner, we played the Wii with my family. It is such a fun system and intrigues such a different demographic than your standard video game system.

Monday, August 13, 2007
The next morning Lee, Kelly, Ashley and I left Napa Valley at 7:30am PT to start the drive to Lake Tahoe. We left early so that the 3 hour drive would take place during Ashley’s nap time.

We arrived into Tahoe around noonish and had some lunch. My parents, Mark and AK arrived later in the afternoon and we meet them at the house we rented. It was located here.

Here is a picture of the view from our deck:

The rest of the afternoon we played in the crystal clear but freezing cold water.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007
Tuesday morning Mark, my dad and myself drove down to rent a jet ski and 2 kayaks. While they were getting the jet ski ready, the owner told us to look up into the tree right by the dock. About 25 feet up were 2 baby black bear cubs and their momma bear. I guess the town is having a big issue this year with bears knocking down doors and raiding refrigerators. It was sad to see them so unaware of us but at the same time cool to see.

My dad took the jet ski and Mark and I took the kayaks. The owner said it would be no more than a 30 minute paddle to our rented house but man, I’m not sure what kind of paddling he’s doing. It took us a LONG time. A few times we tried to hang on to the side of the jet ski but that really didn’t work. The paddle was so long that my armpits were raw by the end of it.

Once we arrived back to the house, we played on the jet ski and kayaks. We found a boogie board and a ski rope and towed each other on the lake. It actually worked out pretty well.

Here is a picture of Kelly and I on the jet ski:

That evening we attempted to go out to dinner at 5:30pm PT to a restaurant called the Wolfdales. Keep in mind this was smack dab in the middle of her bed time in Chicago but we had to give it a try. We made it to right when dinner was served and Ashley had enough. We literally wolfed down our food and took her home to bed.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007
Wednesday morning we rode the jet ski a few times and then packed the kayaks into the minivan to be returned. I enjoy a good challenge and workout but I wasn’t about to make that paddle again. Both the jet ski and kayaks needed to be returned by 9:00am PT so Kelly and I rode the jet ski back while Lee and my dad drove the kayaks back.

Later that morning, my dad, mom, Kelly and I rented some bikes to ride up and down the river. I rented one of those trailers for kids and we put Ashley inside. It was her first bike ride! Tahoe has a great trail system which goes through town and then up and down the river.

Here is the most adorable picture of Kelly and Ashley:

After the ride we stopped at a restaurant on the river for lunch. It was a great setup and we enjoyed the beautiful weather.

Thursday, August 16, 2007
It took our family a bit longer than normal to get moving this morning. We drove about 30 minutes outside of Tahoe City to a place called Emerald Bay for a hike. We hiked 1.7 miles down into the bay, read all about the history of a few houses there and then walked back up to our car.

Here is a picture of the trail down to Emerald Bay:

Here is a picture of us at the base of Emerald Bay:

Later in the afternoon, we went to Chambers Beach and had one of the signature Chambers punch drinks. It was a bit overrated but still pretty tasty.

Friday, August 17, 2007
On Friday, we rented a boat w/ a wakeboard and a tube. We tooled around a bit on the lake and found some calm waters for wakeboarding. This is no easy task with the amount of wind on this lake. However, it’s easier in the morning when the wind is minimal.

Here is a picture of the beautiful wakeboarding conditions:

Saturday, August 18, 2007
Here are some thoughts about Saturday from Kelly:

"Ashley went to her first Art festival. She browsed paintings from the local artists. The highlight for her were all of the doggies. That of which she is scared of.

In the late afternoon we hit up the Squaw Valley Brew and Jazz festival. Daddy was in heaven. He loves beer and music. He then left mommy to fend for herself. After drinking all afternoon, Daddy made sure to hit up the casino."

That cracked me up. We did go to Squaw Valley and had a great time. We were able to see Karl Denson up close and personal.

Here is the man Karl Denson:

That night we packed to go home.

Sunday, August 19, 2007
We traveled all day long. We left Tahoe at 6:00am PT and ended up in Chicago by 7:00pm CT.

Sunday, August 5, 2007

First Steelers Game

I can't believe it's football season already! The Steelers are playing the Saints right now in a scrimmage game at the Hall of Fame. Both my dad and brother are there so I'm jealously watching from the confines of my couch. 2nd play of the game, Roethlisberger 55 yard bomb to Wilson. It's going to be a good season.

This is officially Ashley's first time seeing the Steelers on TV. It is a memorable day. I told her all about how much of a fan she is and she replied back with "gah". I'm pretty sure that meant "you're damn right daddy. go get my jersey and put it on me and let me wave that terrible towel of yours.".


Sunday, July 15, 2007

Ashley Rolling Over

Here is an unedited video of Ashley playing on the ground, rolling over and then hanging out with mommy. Make sure to check out minute 2:30. So cute!

Laughing on the Turnpike

A few weeks ago we were stuck on the turnpike because of an accident. Here is a video of Ashley laughing while we were killing some time.

4 Months Old

Ashley turned 4 months old this past Thursday. Boy is time flying. She had a checkup the same day and she's perfectly healthy. For her age, Ashley is in the 95% for height and 75% in body and head. Here are some of the latest pictures we've acquired.

A few weeks ago, we went to Lake Chautauqua to look at some lots for my parents new lake house. Here are some pictures:

My boy Holmes from high school just got married in Brecksville, Ohio this weekend. His bride was so beautiful and the evening was amazing. Here are some pictures from the event:

While we were in town for the Holmes wedding, we spent some time with my parents. Here are some pictures from this weekend:

Saturday, June 30, 2007

Monday, June 25, 2007

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Monday, June 18, 2007

The situation


I keep asking Ryan to help me get the pictures in an album but he keeps getting side tracked. Anyway, I am trying to get the pictures rotated correctly but I can't do it. Until Ryan teaches me, this is what the website is going to look like. :)

- Mommastrauss

Weekend with Grandma Jane

Happy Father's Day


I just wanted you to know that you are such an amazing daddy to Ashley. You are so wonderful with her. You have given so much of yourself to her. She is the luckiest little girl in the world.

p.s. I can't get the picture to turn the right way.

Thursday, June 14, 2007


So sorry that there are not any recent pictures of the bebe. I am learning, as we speak, on how to upload and resize pictures. I am going to try and post every day from here on out :)

I am so sweet....I do no wrong


My mommy loves it when I make this face!!
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Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Giggling Baby Girl

So the other night we were getting ready to go on a walk and little Ashley just started giggling. It was the cutest sound I have ever heard. I was holding her and helping daddy put on the baby bjorn and all of the sudden she started giggling and would not stop. One of my aunts told me that cooing and talking is cute but just wait until your baby giggles. I am going to try and capture it on the video camera and post it. You are going to die... or maybe just the grandmas will :)

Thursday, May 17, 2007


I was looking at the pictures from our adventure out in the wilderness and noticed that Ryan thinks it is funny to post the most awful pictures. Ashley looks like she is having a miserable time. I mean in half of the pictures she looks frightened, especially the one of me holding her. It also looks like she has a stick in her eye from the dogwood tree. I can assure everyone that Ashley was not mistreated in anyway during our adventure. It is just a little difficult to get a 2 month to smile in each and every picture:)

- Mommastrauss

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Exploring Nature

It's so green here in Cuyahoga Falls after a big storm last night. We took Ashley out to explore the vibrant colors.

Here is a direct link to the pictures from our adventure:

Monday, May 14, 2007

Golfing at Firestone Country Club South Course

My dad and I were able to play Firestone Country Club (South Course) on Sunday. Yes, this is the same course that is played during the Bridgestone Invitational tournament. The course is amazing. I played well on the front but then had two triples on the back for a final 86. You have to love those triples.

I've been keeping my stats on my game since late in last season. Here are the stats I've accumulated in 11 rounds of golf:
  • Average 44.82 score on the front 9
  • Average 45.45 score on the back 9
  • Average 90.27 score on the full 18
  • Average 19.45 handicap
  • Average 0.45 birdies for each round
  • Average 5.00 pars for each round
  • Average 7.55 bogies for each round
  • Average 3.18 doubles for each round
  • Average 1.27 triples for each round (horrible)
  • Average 0.55 quads for each round (atrocious)
  • Average 6.00 fairways hit for each round
  • Average 37.20 putts for each round

Weekend in Ohio with Grandma/Grandpa Strauss pushed our car to Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio this past weekend to spend some time with her aunts/uncles/grandparents/great grandparents, etc. It was the first time she got to meet my two brothers, my cousin Kristen, my grandparents and my Aunt Karen.

Here is a direct link to the pictures:

Saturday, May 5, 2007

Summer is Here

Ashley is 54 days old as of this post. Both Kelly and Ashley are doing great. I've been a bit busy so I haven't had much time to post, but here are some of the pictures we've taken over the past 18 days.

Here is Ashley at 40 days old having a big yawn on our deck on a nice afternoon:

Here is Ashley at 50 days old stretching before a bath:

The infamous GUM (Great Uncle Mike) visited us from the wonderful state of North Carolina. We had some traditional deep dish Chicago style pizza one night and then cooked out on our grill the following night. Uncle Mike, thanks for the visit! Here is Ashley with GUM at 52 days old:

Ashley and I caught some zzzzz's before work yesterday morning. Here she is at 53 days old:

Here is Ashley sleeping this morning with momma with her hands above her head:

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Bed Time

Ashley is officially 36 days old as of this post. That's 874 hours or 52,409 minutes for all you number crunchers out there. BTW, it's somewhat strange that we don't count the 9 months during pregnancy towards our age, but I digress. It's amazing how much our life has changed, for the better, in those quick 874 hours.

Here are 2 pictures from this evening right before we woke her up for her evening "meal". Man, that must be boring 8 times a day. I can't wait to make her a turkey sandwich.

Getting Bigger!!

I took Ashley to the doctor yesterday and she weighs 9lbs 14ozs and is 22 inches long. I can't believe how much bigger she has gotten. What happened to my little peanut?

Saturday, April 14, 2007

One Month Old

Miss Ashley Jane continues to get bigger and bigger and is becoming more aware of who we are. She actually smiled at Kelly on Friday! But I still haven't seen this mystical smile.

There are random nights when Ashley sleeps through the entire night but then there are other nights when she's up every 2 hours. Kelly has been a trooper every night, shielding me so I can be rested for work the next day. I don't know how she does it running on no sleep at all, but she continues to impress me.

Last weekend, Grandma and Grandpa Rothery came into town for Easter. On Saturday, we hung around the house and watched the Masters. Ashley was intently watching Tiger's swing to get some tips for the future.

Ashley went to her first church service on Easter Sunday. She actually had no idea we went because she slept the entire time.

After church we went to a really tasty brunch downtown and then the grandparents left.

This Thursday, Ashley celebrated her one month birthday. It's amazing how fast one month has already gone. I'm beginning to realize that when parents say it flies they are not messing around.

Here is a picture from this morning after we gave Ashley a bath.

Sunday, April 1, 2007

Ryan Baby Pictures

I was given a box full of old slides from my Uncle Mike during the weekend surrounding my Aunt Ruthann's funeral. This was a collection of photographs from back in the day when I was a baby. I've finally digitized them and posted them to our site. Man was I a fat baby. Thanks Uncle Mike!

Here is the direct link:

And Then There Were 3

Grandma Strauss had to return back to normal life this past Friday. She was such an incredible help during her week stay with us. She cooked some ridiculous meals, filling our freezer by the time she left, washed about 100 loads of laundry, cleaned our apartment several times and spent multiple nights wide awake on our couch with Ashley listening to the gentle sounds of the ambulances and fire trucks screaming down the street. Thanks for all your hard work Mom!

Here's a picture of Ashley's first bath last Tuesday. She seemed very confused by the whole process but overall enjoyed the warm water.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Photo Shoot Followup

As a follow up to our previous post about the photo shoot we had last Friday with Jane Hasty Photography, she has already posted the pictures to her site! They can be found here. This one is my favorite.

If you're interested in any prints, feel free to email Jane using the contact information referenced on her site.

Jane, thanks so much for the great pictures!


"I had my second doctor's appointment today. It was really fun! My mommy and my grandma walked me there in my new stroller. It was funny because they could not figure out how to work the stroller. They had to call my daddy, while I just sat there patiently, sucking on my binky. Anyway, my mommy strolled me in to the doctor and they made me take off all of my clothes. Thank goodness I got to keep my diaper on! The nurse weighed and measured me and I am still 19.5 inches long and I weigh 7lbs 9ozs. Mommy is doing a good job feeding me because I already exceeded my birth weight. Also, the doctor said mommy can let me sleep through the night, instead of waking me up to eat. Phewwwwww! I hated being woken up from my sweet dreams. Also, the doctor kept calling me a love bucket and even sang me the same song that mommy sings to me everyday. Guess what? I didn't even cry. Today was a great day!"

- Ashley Jane

Comment Process Change

Due to "hooligans", I've had to change the comment process for this site. When you submit a comment, I get emailed and then I can either publish the comment to the site or delete it.

99.99% will be published unless you're a hooligan as mentioned above.

Friday, March 23, 2007

Drunk From Milk

Someone is straight up knocked out from the already busy day. She has just finished a feeding and is "drunk" as the industry calls it. Infants act very similar after a feeding to someone who's "three sheets to the wind" as my grandma says. The influx of the warm milk into their bodies slow them way down and they fall straight asleep.

Photo Shoot

Ashley had a photo session today with Jane Hasty Photography. Kelly received this as a gift from the school where she taught. What a great idea for a gift! I'll provide a follow up to this post when the photos are viewable on her site.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Grandma's Make The World Go Round

Kelly's mom left yesterday afternoon after having logged some serious awake hours at our humble abode. Her help and attention to our needs went above and beyond her call of duty as a grandma. She was with us throughout the challenging times when Ashley wasn't happy and there were many a mornings when I came out and she had been up for hours holding Ashley so we could sleep. Kelly and I both have no idea what we would have done without her help. Grandma Rothery, thank you so much for everything you've done for us over the past week. We are blessed to have a grandma as caring, thoughtful, sensitive and hard working as you.

One funny story while she was here, there was a span of a few days where both Kelly and her mom didn't get much sleep at all. It became apparent that I needed to volunteer my duties for the "night watch" aka sleeping on the couch with the bassinet by my head. If Ashley were to wake up or cry, I'm to calm her down, rock her, burp her, etc.

I was a bit apprehensive at first because I'm a total noob at this infant thing. The night started out great. Around 1am, Ashley woke up crying so I picked her up, gave her the pacifier, rocked her a bit and boom, she was out like a light. "I can so do this" I thought. Well, the next thing I know, Kelly and Grandma are standing over top of me with a concerned look on their faces asking what the heck happened out here during the night. As I wipe the droll off my cheek and squint from the sun shining in, I look over and Ashley had vomited all over her crib all night and I couldn't have slept harder through each ordeal. I have since been relieved of my night shift duties.

Anyway, Grandma Strauss just arrived this morning to take over for Grandma Rothery. For all of you kids out there looking to follow our lead with the kid, you need to make sure you lineup the grandma's to come stay with you and help out. They are wonderful.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Widow's Peak

Does anyone know where Ashley gets her widow's peak from? I don't think that it is my side of the family. I think it might be somewhere on the Strauss/Nash side. At least I think that it is a widow's peak.

Monday, March 19, 2007

Tummy Time

I put Ashley on the couch for a little "tummy time" as the industry calls it. I guess it helps strengthen their necks/arms/backs to eventually get strong enough to roll on their backs and later on walk. If that means she'll get an edge on the competition (other kids), you can expect lots of pictures of this little babooshka on her tummy.

12 Minutes With Ashley

Here is an unedited video of nothing but Ashley for 12 minutes. She's wide awake the whole time and moving all over the place. I thought this might be enjoyable for the grandmas/grandpas/parents out there and blindingly boring for others. So proceed with caution. Some highlights: sneezes at 2:57 and pushes out some gas at 3:27. If you turn up your volume, you can hear them both. Pretty funny.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Kelly And Ashley Sleeping

Kelly and Ashley are plain tuckered out from the day. I caught them sleeping a few seconds ago on our couch.

72 Hours With Ashley

I'll preface this post by apologizing for the level of details in the last post. This one should be a bit less unpleasant. Also, it's been awhile since I've posted last. We've been a bit busy so I'll try and catch up with this post.

The first few hours in the post partum room were chalk full of visitors. Our families had come into town from St. Louis and Cleveland and were eagerly awaiting the chance to see Ashley. In addition to our families, we had nurses, lactation consultants, workers to sign up Ashley for a social security number and a birth certificate, etc. It was a busy place with a revolving door.

The nurses informed us of our new schedule of feedings every 2-3 hours. In addition, we were to keep track of her bathroom schedule on a dry eraser board so they can make sure all of her plumbing was working correctly and she was getting the proper nutrition. It's funny how you treat babies and their bathroom schedule. You look forward to the times she has a dirty diaper and physically cheer out loud when they do.

One thing the nurses never told me was something I encountered the first time I changed her diaper. Meconium it's called. I couldn't believe my eyes as I ran to the nurse's emergency button exclaiming "Ashley is dying from the inside!" Kelly calmed me down saying it's completely normal. What I saw in that tiny diaper was black tar. Same consistency and same color and I'm as serious as a heart attack. I learned this is the output from the baby ingesting all the fluids and materials in momma's stomach during pregnancy. It's unreal.

One of the biggest obstacles we encountered the first day was that Kelly's milk was slow to come in. This was apparent when Ashley would start crying as soon as she finished feeding from momma. Since she wasn't getting nutrition from Kelly and she started to lose too much weight, we had to start supplementing her diet with formula.

Instead of giving the formula with your standard bottle, we used a supplemental nursing system (SNS). Basically, you pour the formula into a cylindrical shaped container which has a long tube that pulls the formula out of the container. You attach this tube with tape right onto momma's boob. So when Ashley nurses, she would get both formula and whatever momma was producing at the time.

In addition to the formula, the nurses brought in a breast pump to help get Kelly's milk to come in quicker. So every 3 hours we'd fill up the SNS, tape it on, Ashley would feed for 30 minutes, I'd clean the SNS, Kelly would burp Ashley, I'd take Ashley, Kelly would use the breast pump for 15 minutes, I'd hand over Ashley, clean the pump and Kelly would sleep with Ashley. Lot's of work, right? Keep in mind the "every 3 hours" counter starts when you start the above process. Since this process mentioned above takes about an hour, we essentially had 2 hours in between feedings.

So we spent from Monday around 1pm until Wednesday around noon in this post partum room. On Wednesday, the pediatrician cleared us to leave and we packed up, bundled up and used our car seat for the first time.

I've never driven so cautious in my life on the way to our apartment from the hospital. The speed limit felt like we were cruising at warp speed. Each driver around me was a threat to my new family so I had full defensive driving mode in gear. Of course we had to stop to purchase a breast pump on the way home. BTW, whoever is making these things has to be a millionaire. They are unbelievably expensive and another unexpected cost was out the door.

Since we've been home, we've been challenged with the feedings. The process has been grueling and poor Kelly has been a trooper through each and every time. However, we woke up this morning and our prayers have been answered. Kelly's milk is now flowing like the beer in the bars around our apartment today on St Patrick's Day. So we've ditched the SNS and breast pump in place of your standard and natural feedings. Finally!

Today was a big day for another reason, Ashley had her first pediatrician appointment. Katie and Grandma Rothery gave Ashley a bath last night to prepare for her second time out into the world. Our little girl smelled for real. She had legit body odor coming from underneath her armpits. I couldn't believe it when I first smelled it. I thought it was just my smell because sitting around all day staring at the clock waiting for feedings doesn't bode well for personal hygiene.

The appointment went well, she's perfectly healthy and has gained 5 ounces since she left the hospital. She's up to 6lbs and 9 ounces.

So we're finally caught up to real time. Hope everyone's having a happy St. Patrick's Day! Boy am I in a different place than last year at this time. That's okay though, Ashley is worth that times 500.