Presents

OK, it’s that time of the year when Owen and Willow reap the benefits of the season. This year, we are going to do things a bit differently. We would really like to focus on gifts for them that can help bring out their creative side. We’ll add more specific items later, but here are some starting points for gifts.

http://www.magiccabin.com

http://www.novanatural.com/

http://www.hearthsong.com

We’ll post more specific URLs as we can, but things we are looking at include: wooden trains (Rootin’ Ridge here in Austin has an awesome train), tree building blocks, globe, easel, forts, and stuff like that. We would really like to stay away from anything that is electronic and makes obnoxious sounds, instead focusing on items that can allow their creativity to grow and blossom. Science related items are also good. Oh, and costume type stuff.
Also, these are the items that have a tendency to keep his interest, and we would like to be able to hand things over to Willow at the appropriate times.

For Papa you ask? Why, let me tell ya..

Kitchen: Olive oil mister would be sweet (so you can supply your own oil), silicone cooking spatula (for using in frying pans, for example, the KitchenAid Silicone Turner).

T-shirts: geeky is great! Here’s an example: http://www.xkcd.com/store/ . The sudo and science ones I like. Doesn’t have to be these as they are just examples. Also, I wouldn’t mind a couple of business casual shirts that can be worn with slacks.

Tech: Portable speakers for my iPod. They don’t have to be completely portable (no plug), but that would be preferable. Mostly, I want good quality speakers, though. The Altec Lansing inMotion IM3C Portable is an ***example***, though not precisely what I might want. It’s a 5.5G video iPod, btw.

Ch-ch-ch-changes

With a nod and kick to the guh-roin of David Bowie, there’s yet another change in our life.  Unbelievably, I am no longer an auditor, thanks be to god, allah, or the deity of your choice.  After only four years in the profession, I realized that I am not a good fit (though I happen to be really good at it), though I learned much.

Mostly, it was the people.  MOST auditees (the people being audited), are mature, responsible, and honest.  However, at my last place of business (LPOB), I had to work with the counter-opposite, and it broke me.   The company is so…how do I put this…stuck in 1996 on the security side, and they are actually proud of it.  “But, but, we have a firewall, and we once caught somebody downloading stuff off Napster!”  And that, ladies and gentlemen, is the extent of their security.  Once I realized that it was all about a powertrip for the CFO (how many idiots can I collect???), I knew it was time to hit the road again.

But after this warm and fuzzy experience, I decided to head back into IT.  You see, if anything my LPOB taught me, it’s that auditors suck.  No no, they can’t help AT ALL.  And whine enough to the clueless CFO, and you can do whatever the F you want.  Stuck in 1995?  Whine.  Lower the bar and whine.  Whine some more.  And there you have it.  As an auditor, it really is my word against somebody else’s, and without the necessary support (see Board), you brought a wet Sporting News to Iraq with which to fight.

So, Geoff, with all this happy reporting, is there actually a silver lining?  Why, yes, yes there is.  It took me all of six seconds to decide that my new company has a mature group of people.  Perhaps, me thinks, it’s because I am no longer an auditor.  It’s like, because that (or a synonym) is in my title, I must b a very spetial gye.  But this company is genuinely interested in what I have to offer, both from an IT and compliance angle.  A-mazing.  My commute had become worse than from ERCOT in Taylor (oh, and let me give a big-time plug to ERCOT, especially the security people.  Out-freaking-standing, and that ain’t sarcasm.), and now it’s about 10 minutes each way.  And it’s closer to Fry’s and a Chik-Fil-A.  HAHAAH!

So, there you have it.  I want to give a shout-out to all the wonderful auditors and auditees I have met over the years.  About 90% have been outstanding, including T, my last boss.  But, for now, I am done with it.  I can’t stand the needless hate any longer.

Updated Archives

I have placed all the old pictorials, and will place new ones, on the Page titled “Pictorials” to the left.  Have fun!

The Birth Story Plus

Below is the birth story that Monica wrote up. Also a new picture medley to check out. Enjoy!

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In the announcement that we sent out already, we said that labor was 5 hours, but please note that was only the ACTIVE labor part. I’d been having contractions on and off for a few days, but they started in earnest on Friday.

That Friday afternoon, Owen and I had plans to see a friend’s place for the first time. This friend lives at the Rhizome Collective (a very cool place, BTW, check out their website at www.rhizomecollective.org). While there, it became increasingly clear that the contractions I was having were indeed true labor ones, especially when I had to walk away during them from the crowd of folks who either lived there or were visiting. I must admit it felt strange to be in labor around people I was just meeting for the first time. After we’d taken a walk, had a snack, and visited the turkey and chickens enough (not to mention our friend!), it was time for us to leave for home. I thought Owen might fall asleep on the way back home, since it was close to 6:30 by then, but no such luck. He had been talking about getting hazelnut gelato after our visit, and I think this lured him on to keep sleep at bay. So, we stopped at the gelato place in 26 Doors on the way home. I didn’t have any really strong contractions there, thank goodness, but it took some convincing to get Owen home, since he wanted to stay and eat there. By now, contractions were still widely spaced, like 8-15 minutes apart. I was doing my best to not get too excited. I wanted to go about our lives as if nothing was happening, because I had no idea how long this kind of labor would last.

At home, we enjoyed our treat (kind of a rare one) and got ready for bed. I remembered what our midwife GB had said about having a glass of wine and going to bed during early labor in order to get extra rest, so I asked Geoff to open a bottle of wine, and I enjoyed my second treat of the evening. Afterwards, I went straight to bed, wondering what might be in store for us. During the night, I woke up my usual 3 – 4 times to use the bathroom, but I did notice rather strong contractions each time. Still, I was able to get plenty of rest that night.

The next morning, the same routine persisted. Contractions were about 8-15 minutes apart still, yet strong enough that I had to breathe through them. By mid-morning, they had picked up slightly, but then they petered out by lunchtime. I began to think we would have an October baby. We all had projects going on, so that helped keep us occupied. Geoff was working on a computer rebuild, I was cleaning and starting to work on a mobile, and Owen was listening to music, among other things. At around 2:00, a friend and his son stopped by to see if Owen could play at their house until 4:00, so he took off with them. I think my brain/body needed this mental break, because it seemed labor got stronger after this. I talked with my mom on the phone and asked her to be available for Owen after 4:00. I also called GB, who recommended another glass of wine and rest. I promptly took her advice and went to bed.

I woke up around 4:00 with three really strong contractions. Being on hands and knees helped me make it through these. I was about to lay back down when something made me double-check, and, sure enough, there was bloody show. There was just a little blood, so I immediately went to the bathroom, where the rest of the plug came out into the toilet. I called and called for Geoff, but as luck would have it, he was out of the house, helping transition Owen from our friend’s house to Grandma’s car. The contractions were a little far apart still, but I called GB anyway to let her know the status of things. She was excited about the progress, and told me to call back once the contractions got closer together; 4 – 5 minutes apart. I continued to labor on hands and knees until Geoff got back.

Once Geoff returned, around 4:30, we decided that he should start working on cleaning up the computer project in our living room and setting up the birth tub. I also decided to go ahead and run some regular bath water until the birthing tub could be ready. At this point, things get more hazy in that I can’t really remember specific thoughts, although at the time, they felt completely coherent and rational. I stayed in the water and found that laying on my left side was the best way to relax through the contractions, so I was like this for a good bit of the time. Moaning during contractions also felt really good.

At one point, I believe around 6:00, I felt that I needed to go to the bathroom, so I got out and headed for the toilet. No bowel movement, but my legs started shaking, and I thought, “Hmmmmm… Urge to poop, shaky legs, could this be transition?? Nah – too early still.” Contractions were still somewhat widely spaced – no closer than about seven minutes apart. Geoff called from the other room to say that the tub was ready whenever I wanted to use it. He helped me into the tub, and it was really one of the best feelings I’d ever had, getting into all that warm water. I relaxed there for a small while, leaning forward against the side of the tub. The tub had a small leak from the previous folks, who apparently used it in the backyard as a hot tub before their labor actually hit, so Geoff had to keep re-inflating the sides as the air leaked out. Then, the first contraction in the tub hit, and I realized my body was pushing!

I immediately said to Geoff, “I’m pushing, but I think it’s too soon!” Visions of a swollen cervix and transfer to the hospital appeared before me. I had Geoff call GB, who instructed me to get out of the tub and onto the bed with my bottom up in the air to prevent pushing before either she or Laurie, the other midwife, got there. Laurie was only 10 minutes away, but GB was still at her home in Dripping Springs. I was worried that we would have the baby before they got there, but I needn’t have, since it took another two hours of pushing before our little one arrived.

I’ve heard many women say that pushing was their favorite part of labor; that they’re happy to finally be doing something active. Not so with me! It was just plain hard and exhausting. GB and Laurie offered up several different positions to try, but I almost wish I’d gotten back in the tub as GB suggested at one point because my pushing contractions seemed really strong and effective in there. I guess I was a little worried about needing to transfer to the bed just before the baby was born, and we hadn’t discussed water births ahead of time.

As it was, we tried laying on my side, sitting on the birthing stool, and, finally, laying flat on my back. I was surprised that the last one was the most effective for me. Later, Laurie divulged that this is the position they pull out at the end if they can tell a mama is just plain ready to get the baby out. It tends to get the mama working really hard, mainly because it’s so uncomfortable – ha! I must say it was really helpful to be able to push against the two of them with my feet, raising my hips off the bed. It was also wonderful to have Geoff near my head, holding my hand. His physical presence gave me a feeling of constant emotional connection and support.

Our baby girl came into the world at 8:58 pm, and we snuggled right away. My mother had brought Owen home about 5 to 10 minutes beforehand, so they were able to come in as soon as they heard her cry. It worked out really well, I think. I had a second-degree tear, so after the placenta came out, GB and Laurie stitched me up. It had been very difficult to slow down pushing at the end, even as I knew that might mean a tear. There was something unusual about the placenta, but I’ll have to follow up with them to find out; I don’t remember the details now. GB also noticed how Willow had her legs after birth; all folded up with the feet pressed at an unusual angle against her body. This completely explains why I didn’t feel many leg movements up high, even after the midwives helped to turn her from a breech position at 36 weeks. Her APGAR scores were 9 at birth and 10 five minutes later. She developed just a small case of jaundice, which cleared up with a little sunlight.

It was nearly 2:00 am when Laurie left, and GB decided to stay the night with us to help with the nursing, since it took a bit for Willow to latch on. It appears that she has a very specific spot that she likes to have stimulated in order to nurse, so we are currently using nipple shields. She is gaining well, but I hope to wean from the shield at some point over the next few weeks. GB has remained an incredible source of support and wisdom for the nursing, including going on store trips to buy miscellaneous items and making multiple visits to our home.

I am so pleased to have had our baby at home; it has been intensely gratifying to simply be here in our own space. We are all smitten with our little one, Owen included. He loves to be near her, holding her hand, kissing her. I’m really looking forward to their relationship blossoming even more over time. Here we are at one month, which is hard to believe, and already she has changed. She is starting to really smile at us, and giving the occasional coo. She seems surprised at her own voice. Even as we celebrate her arrival and rejoice over her recent developments, I look forward to the little walking, talking person she will become; to see what thoughts are in her head and what dreams are in her heart.

Love, light, and happiness…

Monica

TREE!

Trees
I think that I shall never see
A poem lovely as a tree,
A tree whose hungry mouth is prest
Against the earth’s sweet flowing breast;
A tree that looks at God aft day,
And lifts her leafy arms to pray;
A tree that may in Summer wear
A nest of robins in her hair;
Upon whose bosom snow has lain;
Who intimately lives with rain.
Poems are made by fools like me,
But my car was crushed by a tree.

With apologies to Joyce Kilmer

Obey your master

Powered by the fact that I know who runs the house, on with the latest update.

Willow is getting nice and strong and putting on plenty of weight at this point.  There were some early problems, but I think the worst is behind us now.  She’s somewhere around 7.5 lbs (born at 7 with nadir at 6 lbs 6 oz.).  I’m hoping that the super stressful parts of the birth, etc., are behind us now, which would be a good thing.

I’ll work on posting more pictures soon, including re-posting previous pictorials.

Pictures!

Yes yes, I know: I am one evil dude.  Fact is, I roomed with Saddam back in college, and we used to play Dungeons and Dragons with Kim Jong-il, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and, of course, Barney the Purple Dinosaur.  Now do you see how deeply evil my evil runs deep?  And all because I haven’t posted any pics on the site lately.

So, with this post, I will try to make up for my horrible sins.  After much pondering, thinking, and thoughts, we have decided to password protect the pics on the site.  This is for security reasons, which is really kinda depressing.  Alas, I feel it a necessity so that our pictures do not meet an inappropriate means.  Also, I have watermarked our pics.  If you would like clean pictures, please email me.  And, of course, if you want the login information, you’ll need to write Monica or I.  If you don’t know our emails?  Well, you’ll just need to ask us then, eh?

Willow

Tuesday

We didn’t mean to worry anybody about the baby’s fever. It wasn’t anything to worry about, and all seems to be better now. And, outside of the typical chronic lack of sleep, things are pretty good all around. If anything, the baby hasn’t slept a whole lot today, though she has certainly been active and alert. She didn’t really want to be awake until about 10pm or so last night, so if she’s adjusting to a more classic human non-goth/vampiric circadian rhythm, all the better. She does like to nurse, and, BOY HOWDY!, can that girl throw a fit when she ain’t happy. And is she ever gassy! Takes after her mother, natch.

As far as pictures, I am putting together a new base computer, but it’s being a real, errrrr, nasty thing about something. I can’t even get it to post, and I have tried all sorts of solutions. Once I can get it up and going, I’ll make pictures a priority.

And now, the part some of you have been kinda sorta waiting for: The Name.

Now, while we appreciated some of your wonderful suggestions, such as Six, Seven, Color (Owen’s suggestion), T (my boss), Smoltzie (why be a hater?), Pickles, and Samuel Joseph, we regret to inform you that you have been completely and utterly ignored. Especially the Smoltzie thing (why oh why the hate???). We have decided on:

Willow Fonteyn Mueller

Let’s be clear of one thing. If you’re named William or Bill or Willie or Mortimer, don’t flatter yourself. Willow was not named for you. Monica and I really liked the name Willa from one of Owen’s stories, but I preferred the tie-in to nature with Willow over Willa. Thus, we have Willow. Willa is a perfectly acceptable nickname. For those of you who know about my relationship with Owen’s name, you would know I probably wouldn’t remember his name if I didn’t write it occasionally.

As for Fonteyn, Monica loves ballet. Nuf ced (and you can check the link above if you don’t know about Margot Fonteyn [cuz wikipedia is always such a reputable source of information]). Of course, I like Maya Plisetskaya more, but I got Willow and, heck, Fonteyn is much easier to spell than Plisetskaya.

Signing off for now.

Papa

Sunday

Things have quieted down enough for a quick entry.  We had a family onslaught with a house chock-full-o-people.  Errr, not to mention Owen bouncing off the walls.  Poor guy didn’t get a whole lot of sleep last night, so he’s in total hyper-overdrive right now.  He’s blowing off some more energy with Roger, Colleen, and Adam right now, so that’s a good thing.

Monica appears to be doing really well.  The baby was and is running a slight fever, but it’s still under 100.  We’re concerned, but not worried.  I don’t think the baby has left the bed since one point last night.  Oh, no name yet.  Monica and I only talked about it for a couple of minutes today.  Maybe we’ll have something tomorrow?  Maybe.

Birth Live-Blogging!

Update – October 1 – 12:30am: From the time of the last post (7 pm) til now, things have been a bit wacky. At least they are slowing down. We’ll/I’ll do a more thorough post with extra-added gory details, but the bottom line is that we are the proud parents of a baby. What sex you ask? For now, that’s a closely held secret, just so we aren’t bombarded with name suggestions. Monica and the baby are both healthy and looking good. Oh, the baby weighed in at 7 lbs and 21 inches.  Born almost right at 9pm, you can see that things really moved along, and both children were born on the 30th of their respective months.

Hopefully, we’ll be able to post a couple of pictures soon.  I wanted to end with this: the baby was born at home, and Monica was a superstar throughout.  I mean, really, all that she was missing was the M on her cape.  More coming soon!*

*soon means at some point, not necessarily in the next couple of hours.  I want to go to sleep!
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Update – Sept 30 – 6pm: From this morning until around noon, there wasn’t much to talk about. Over the past few hours, though, things have picked up. Over the past 1 1/2 hours, even more so. It’s definitely getting closer, and it appears my full moon guess is about as accurate as the Texans winning the Super Bowl this year. Oh well.

7pm – Monica having the major urge to push.

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Well, it’s been quite a while since we’ve posted here, so let’s re-kick it off with a bang, shall we?

Monica’s contractions, which had been kinda erratic over the last couple of days, a few here and a few there, have become considerably more consistent over the past 10 or so hours. At this point (1am CDT), they are about 8-10 minutes apart and definitely picking up in intensity. My begging and pleading with her to get some rest hasn’t been terribly effective, so I hope she is able to get some sleep before long. I kinda wished I had slipped her some sleeping pills in the wine I just gave her. *cough*

I’ll do my best to keep the updates going, but I make no promises. Signing off for now.

Papa

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