Moving On

We posted the news last week on Facebook but I haven’t had much time to write anything here about it.  However, for posterity’s sake, here goes:

We’re leaving St. Louis…again

This time, however, it’s so I can (finally) begin my first “grown up” job as Assistant Professor of Biology at Missouri Valley College in Marshall, MO.  I am charged with teaching Anatomy & Physiology I and II, as well as Principles of Anatomy & Physiology.  That’s going to be 15 credit hours worth of teaching each semester, so I’ve definitely got my work cut out for me.  It will absolutely be challenging, but I’m looking forward to moving off the lab bench for awhile and instead focusing on getting students to appreciate, if not love, physiology as I do.

When we moved to Iowa, Brooke had to leave Bridges CSS and, unfortunately, it took awhile before she was able to find anything comparable (or even acceptable…) doing similar things up north.  Thankfully, unbeknownst to us, Bridges CSS was in the process of buying Bridges of Missouri, their sister company based in Sedalia, MO, which just so happens to be 30 min south of Marshall.  Thus, with a stroke of providence or blind luck, she gets to keep doing what she loves while I begin this new adventure.  She will return to St. Louis once or twice a month to help facilitate the connection between these two arms of the company, but she’s already got her work cut out for her in integrating the workings of the two companies.  She’s excited to mix up what she’s been doing, too!

We’re on a pretty short time table now.  We spent the last few weekends in Sedalia and Marshall investigating houses (more “grown up” things we’re finally doing…) and we think we’ve settled on one that we’re going to make an offer on shortly.  My position officially begins August 1st, but I technically don’t have to be on campus until August 18th (school starts August 25th).  There are all kinds of challenges with pulling that off in a limited period of time, but we think we’re moving in the right direction and can make it happen.

Still, we’ve got a lot of packing to do…

11 Days

I only share this because it’s cute…not because it represents the content of this post…

So, Meg was born in early March, meaning she turned 6 months old in September.  Her first six months involved the experience of Spring and Summer.  Calvin, born in September, just turned 6 months old this past weekend.  His first six months involved the experience of Fall and Winter.

Guess which one got sick more often?

We’ve added it up and came to 11 days.  That’s just 11 weekdays of illness from Calvin since January, not even accounting for all the snow days we had to take off for Meg (where Calvin frequently stayed home, too, whether daycare was open or not).  Here’s the run down:

  • 4 mo vaccinations- 2 days
  • Random Virus – into – Bacterial Pneumonia (4 mo) – 5 days
  • “Unnamed” Stomach Virus (5 mo) – 1 day
  • RSV – into – ear infection (6 mo) – 3 days

A few of those only seem short because they started over a weekend.  For example, this most recent bout of RSV started last Friday and Cal held a fever all weekend (thank God it started over a weekend, though…).  On Sunday at Urgent Care, he didn’t have an ear infection.  He started feeling better Monday, then got worse Tuesday.  I took him to the doctor and found he had fewer signs of breathing difficulties and instead had an ear infection.  The “Unnamed Stomach Virus” started on a Sunday and kept him out on Monday.  By Tuesday he was fine, but Meg and I had contracted it, so even if he got to go to school, two of us became afflicted.

Just can’t win.

More generally, this Winter has been pretty disruptive, largely because of the onslaught of snow, ice, and blistering cold (that mostly affected Meg), and also because Calvin just got every sickness imaginable for an infant.  Brooke and I have weathered all this by splitting days at work, or taking turns taking days off here and there.  It’s great that we both have flexible jobs, but I can’t imagine what this would be like if we didn’t.

Needless to say, we’re ready for some consistency in the weather.  And by “consistency” I mean “Spring.”

Wait…”Spring” started last week?

…I don’t believe it…it’s still cold outside…

Peas in a Pod

"I want to watch Busytown with you, Big Sister!"
“I want to watch Busytown with you, Big Sister!”

I’ve been meaning to write something on this subject for a few weeks but never seem to get around to it.  From the beginning, we were curious how Calvin would integrate into our existing threesome (or nine-some, depending on how many creatures we’re including…), and more specifically, how Meg would deal with him and how Brooke and I both have to shift our attention from entirely on her to entirely on her and him (that’s 200% “attention,” for those keeping count).

Surprisingly and thankfully, it’s been shockingly easy.  Meg has displayed nary a hint of jealousy toward him, though she certainly still wants more attention than we can sometimes give her.  In general, she’s actually been pretty helpful these past few months, frequently grabbing a rattle or other toy when we can’t reach one, or staying in the room to watch him as we go downstairs to exchange the laundry.  If he starts crying, she’s quick to say “It’s okay, Calvin.  I’m here!”  This rarely helps, but it’s still kinda sweet…

The more surprising aspect of their burgeoning relationship is how Calvin looks at her.  I mean, he gets excited when one of us walks into the room after we get home from work, but when Meg walks in, he lights up like nothing else.  The other day, I was driving the two of them home and Meg was facing forward singing some song she’d made up.  She wasn’t even singing toward Calvin, but he was just staring at her, laughing randomly.  Meg didn’t think she was saying anything funny, of course, so she didn’t really understand why Calvin was reacting this way.  Still, it’s pretty obvious that she amuses him greatly.

As I’ve mentioned to Nana and others, I’m just waiting for the relationship to turn toward the typical hostility one would expect between a brother and a sister.  Clearly they aren’t going to wait until their teenagers or anything, but will it happen when he starts crawling?  Walking?  When he starts recognizing her toys and messes with them?  There’s already some element of this, as most of “his” toys were previously “Meg’s” toys, and she’s fully aware of this.  It isn’t like she says “No, Calvin, you can’t have that,” but sometimes when she’s playing with him, she’ll take a toy he was currently chewing on as she’s done playing with it, so now he must also be done.

Regardless, he almost always wants to be around her (or, at least, he is happier when she’s around), and she usually wants to be around him.  She still asks to “play with Calvin” just before bedtime, despite being bored with it after maybe 15 minutes of actual “playing.”

I just wonder how long it will last!

D.B.D., Part Deux

Reading with Nana
Reading with Nana

We had our first substantial run-in with sickness this past week.  To some degree, it’s pretty impressive it took this long.  Meg’s teachers had all commented how she’s the only student in her class of 20 that had not missed a day of school since it began last Fall.  That isn’t to say she hasn’t had a runny nose or anything, but she certainly hasn’t run a fever.  Even Brooke and I have both come through thus far unscathed, again, aside from the aforementioned runny nose or cough.

Traditionally, my immune system has been pretty great.  I’ll come down with an affliction from time to time, but it seems to be pretty rare.  If I recall, I’ve had a fever exactly once in the last 3 or 4 years, and it lasted for a few hours one afternoon.  So far, it appears that Meg has taken after me, at least to a degree.  She has certainly gotten sick before, but she’s around a lot of kids at her preschool (inside an elementary school…) and she hasn’t come down with anything (knock on wood).

But as I’ve written before, the Demon Baby Disease is one you don’t always see coming.  And this past week, it struck the one person in this post I haven’t mentioned yet:

Calvin.

This presents a few additional difficulties compared with last time around.  First of all, Meg was born in March, so by the time we hit the Winter cold and flu season, she was already 8-10 months old.  Calvin turned 4 months last week.  So, he hasn’t been exposed to nearly as much as Meg had at this stage in the year.  Secondly, it’s a little bit easier to determine what’s wrong (i.e. “where does it hurt?”) in an 8-10 month old than it is in a 4 month old.  Thirdly, we have a second child that has somewhere to be, let alone our schedules with our jobs and other engagements.

All we knew about Calvin is that he was fussy last Sunday.  This was followed by a fever that started early Monday morning.  Fever means “no school,” but thankfully, it was Martin Luther King Day, so Meg was off school anyway.  I went in to work for awhile that morning while Brooke stayed home, as her son was having his first semi-serious illness.  Dealing with a sick baby and a(n almost) 4 year old can be trying, for sure, but it was made worse by the weather on Tuesday, when they cancelled school…so Meg was out again.  That day, I went in crazy early and left late morning so Brooke could go in that afternoon.  Wednesday, Meg could go back to school, but Brooke had to teach that morning, so I loaded up Calvin, took Meg to school, and then brought him back home until Brooke could arrive so I could go in for a few hours.

During this whole time, Calvin had a fever and a productive cough that was getting more pronounced.  The fever was kinda “on and off,” where it’d get better during the day, and then rear its ugly head overnight.  Brooke was the trooper for most nights, staying upstairs with him as he’d only attempt to eat from her directly and wouldn’t take a bottle from me.  Really, he wasn’t eating much at all, but he was drooling enough to suggest that he wasn’t dehydrated.  She took him to an Urgent Care clinic on Monday evening and they said it was a virus of some kind, so he’d just have to work through it.

By Thursday, though, he’d had a fever for (effectively) 4 days, so Brooke took him to our pediatrician.  He had also developed a very minor rash on his chest, still have a 102 F fever, and via chest x-ray, apparently had early signs of pneumonia.  Great.

[That last bit we didn’t know until Friday after the radiologist had looked at the scans and talked with Calvin’s pediatrician].

On my way home Friday, I picked up some antibiotics to hopefully take care of pneumonia.  If you didn’t know, there’s a viral form and a bacterial form, the latter of which is more common.  If the antibiotics were effective, he’d have to have bacterial pneumonia.

Thankfully, that’s what he had.  As of Saturday, he was almost back to normal.  His sleeping schedule is still a little bit off and his eating is steadily improving, but importantly, he’s just acting like a happy baby again.  No more constant and incessant moaning and whimpering.  He still has a cough, but he doesn’t get nearly as mad about it anymore, and can lull himself back to sleep after he wakes up briefly.  All in all, we’re mostly back to normal.  Finally.

Nana and Papa came in to visit on Saturday, which was a big help for everyone.  Some much-needed “distraction” for Meg and another set of arms to hold Calvin.  All in all, a good visit and just in time to help Brooke and I re-adjust ourselves after a long week of half-days at work and half-nights of sleeping.

Let’s just hope this is the last time we deal with D.B.D. for 2014…

Christmas 2013

What a pretty family. :-)
What a pretty family. :-)

As Christmas fell in the middle of the week this year, our schedules were thrown into something of a tizzy.  Christmas in Columbia with my family was the weekend before, we still traveled to Louisiana, MO to spend Christmas Eve with Brooke’s grandparents, we returned to St. Louis for Christmas morning so the kids could open presents under their own tree, and then we went to Hannibal for yet another Christmas celebration this weekend.  That’s all with a second trip to Columbia for Meg and I between St. Louis and Hannibal destinations so I could see a few friends of mine from high school (good times had by all, by the way).

Needless to say, while the countless presents have been welcomed by our eldest, I’m sure the constant travel and disrupted sleep schedule has strained her.  Still, in some ways, it helps us by having easy things to keep her occupied for days when she’d otherwise be making me play “sleepover” with her, or “hide and seek” (wherein she lays on the floor and considers this to be “hiding”…).  It also helped all that traveling by having a new car to drive in

Regardless, we had a pretty great trip.  We received far too many presents, but that just goes to show how generous our two families are.  Meg really enjoyed opening presents four times in a week, so getting to spread these things out over a longer period of time than usual was nice for her.  Christmas just kept on coming!

Though I knew this phase of my life was coming, it’s starting to become even more evident that Christmas is becoming less and less “for me,” at least with regards to the “magic of Christmas.”  I’m not talking about the religious aspect of the holiday, but more the shift from childhood to adulthood, where Christmas was such a big deal for a large portion of my early life.  It still is, but now, it’s more of a big deal for my kids than it is for me.  I still love Christmas, don’t get me wrong, but it’s beginning to take on a new meaning: where it’s now my job to make Christmas magical for my kids rather than make it enjoyable for myself.  I hope that doesn’t sound “bah humbug”-ish, and maybe it’s just something I need to try and work on for next year, but it’s something I’ve been thinking about.

Still, watching Meg open her presents (and Calvin in the coming years…he was kinda useless at opening things this year…) was enough “magic” for me.  It wasn’t the same, watching someone else open presents as opposed to me opening presents, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be as meaningful.  It certainly was this year.

Merry Christmas, everyone. 🙂

A New Addition to the Family

Why, hello, beautiful. :-)
Why, hello, beautiful. :-)

If you go back to the post I made about our previous car, a 2006 Kia Sportage, I wrote:

We’d been discussing a 2010 Subaru Forester for awhile, largely because they hold their value substantially longer than other vehicles, they’re reliable, and they have all-wheel drive standard.  However, considering the value of our trade-in (which wasn’t much…), it just wasn’t going to be feasible anytime soon…

“Anytime soon” was accurate.  Since getting that car, Brooke in particular hasn’t been all that happy with it.  It had a few issues, for sure, and the interior didn’t really instill you with the feeling that it was a “nice” vehicle.  Still, it worked.  It drove.  It rode pretty well for long distances.  In retrospect, however, we put at least $3000 in maintenance and repairs into a car that we were still making payments on, so we never really felt secure in its reliability.

That, and it didn’t have a moonroof.  My 1993 Nissan Altima that I drove in college had a moonroof.  And I loved it.  And I missed it.

A few weeks ago, we started looking into whether it was getting time to upgrade.  Not necessarily whether it would happen now, but more questioning of when it could happen.  After making a few calls, going on a test drive, and looking into things, we ended up taking the plunge: we’re the proud owners of a 2014 Subaru Forester 2.5i.  And I couldn’t be happier. 🙂

It’s fun to drive, it’s got all-wheel drive, it has Bluetooth integration, it has a rear-backup camera, it has heated seats (and side mirrors!!), it has a timing chain, it has CVT, it actually moves when you press the accelerator…and most of all…it has a spectacular moonroof.  It’s pretty tech-laden, so I’m having to read through the instruction manual on this one to get everything figured out.  It’s a nice problem to have, at least for someone like me.  Meg likes the moonroof too, but probably likes the cup holder next to her seat better.

And the plan is, she’ll get to drive it some day.  When we bought Brooke’s 2006 Scion xA new, the plan was (and is) to “drive it into the ground,” or at least as close as we can.  We’ve got about 97,000 mi on it now and had almost zero issues with it.  The one issue we did have was with the blower motor resistor, and I was able to fix that myself.  We’ll probably end up replacing it eventually, but likely not until we’re done making payments on the Subaru.  And the Subaru, we’ll keep as long as we can.  Now, for the first time, we’ve got two cars we bought off the lot, getting exactly what we wanted with the intent of keeping them for a long time.

Regardless, we’re excited!  It’s fun to drive and now we want to go on a long trip to Colorado or Yellowstone.  🙂

On Visits and Progress

Ma, Calvin and Meg
Ma, Calvin and Meg

To be honest, I can’t remember quite how long we waited before taking a lengthy-ish trip with Meg for the first time.  In Cal’s case, it was at the age of almost 5 weeks, when we took him up to Hannibal for the night, and then down to Louisiana, MO to meet his great-grandparents for the first time.  He did shockingly well in the car, despite a two-and-a-half hour drive through heavier-than-expected traffic.  If only we can keep that up indefinitely, trips like that will be a cinch…

Regardless, we had a nice lunch with Ma on Saturday afternoon and then visited with Grandma and Grandpa for a bit.  It’s great to see how their faces light up when there’s a newborn in the room to hold!  Of course, Meg is happy to entertain everyone with her various antics on these visits, and now that she can talk pretty well (relative to the last time she saw them), she’s quick to ask questions, tell stories, and sing songs.  If anything, we’re just happy Calvin and Meg both have great-grandparents to grow up with.

In other news, Cal’s sleeping has been “hit or miss.”  There are some nights where he’ll spend most of the night in his own crib.  There are other nights where he ends up sleeping on my shoulder in the rocking chair upstairs for an hour.  And still most nights where Brooke ends up lying in the twin size bed upstairs with him to coax him to sleep.

Meg’s “fussy hour” was usually around dinner time, if I remember correctly.  Cal’s appears to be a bit later than that, however it still shifts on a whim.  When he had his check up last week (he’s gained almost 3.5 lbs since birth!), the doctor didn’t think it was colic or anything.  Probably after he “finds his finger,” he’ll be able to calm himself down a bit easier.

Hopefully, that happens sooner rather than later…

Lastly, in the past few days, we’ve noticed that he’s looking around the room more, tracking people’s movements.  He likes to watch his big sister, so that’s giving her a few more “entertainment” duties.  It’s good to be able to interact with him a bit more now: not just in holding him, but in being able to talk to him and have him listen to you.  He’s growing and developing fast!

Regardless, Cal’s doing well and we’re getting sleep occasionally.  It’s about all we can ask, I guess. 🙂

P.S. Sorry it’s been so long since posting.  With my abbreviated work schedule and not having two hands available to type in the evenings, blog postings have fallen by the wayside.  I’m catching up though.  Promise!

It’s Been One Week (And Change…)

IMAG0892

Actually, it’s been more like 11 days, but close enough…

Everything’s been going pretty well, really.  Looking back, Meg was apparently pretty good that first week, too, so perhaps I shouldn’t be too surprised.  Calvin’s been letting us sleep most nights in 3-4 hrs stretches, so it’s made the transition to a family-of-four remarkably easy.  By that, I mean that when Meg was this age, we could sleep in, but now, Meg wakes up at 7:00 am, so sleeping in doesn’t really happen…

Other than that, Brooke’s been staying home with Cal this week.  I’ve been taking Meg to school at 9:00 and picking her up at 4:00, and going in to work inbetween.  Brooke has been getting to know our little boy quite well, but I’m still getting my time in.  Some days, he’s sleeping for relatively long stretches – other days, Brooke has to hold him to keep him content.

He’s already make some pretty good progress, at least with respect to gaining better control of his hands, keeping his eyes open, lifting his head for longer periods of time.  I guess I just don’t remember Meg  progressing this quickly, but I’m sure it just seems faster now because he’s our second child.  We’re even catching glimpses of what seem like smiling, even though we don’t think he’s really supposed to be doing that yet.

Regardless, we’re all doing great!  And Meg likes her baby brother.  Can’t ask much more than that. 🙂

Meet Calvin

calvinCalvin Andrew Linsenbardt (or “Cal,” as he will be called) was born on Monday, September 23rd at 3:54 am.  He was 7 lbs, 13 oz and 21-1/4″ tall.

Compared with Meg, this delivery was remarkably easier!  We had to induce Meg at 10 days post-due date to get her out, so the delivery was very difficult for Brooke and took a good 3-4 hrs of pushing.  This time, Brooke was able to do it without induction (though still got the epidural) and only ended up pushing for 9 whole minutes.  Craziness.

Regardless, Calvin is doing well and Mom and Baby are resting at the hospital (while I rest at home with Meg, who needs to go to school tomorrow).  As I will likely get the better night’s sleep, I suspect it’ll be my duty to entertain him tomorrow while Brooke gets a bit of rest.

Happy to help, of course.  He’s cute like his big sister. 🙂

Jogging Update

2013-09-14_13-05-40_1

A little over two months since starting jogging, I’ve completed my goal of “being capable of running a 5k.”  For the most part, I’ve been jogging 2 miles each week day, aside from holidays like Labor Day or rainy mornings (of which there have been very, very few…).

Two miles a day has actually become surprisingly easy.  After Meg started school and I started taking her with me, I shifted my morning schedule a little bit, getting up at 6:30 am and jogging for 20 min.  My pace has gradually improved, where I now (roughly) average about a 9 min mile, on most days.  By the fourth or fifth day in a row of jogging, I’m getting pretty tired, so my pace slows, but I still make sure I run the full 20 min.  Really, I’ve been pretty sure I could run the 5k for the past few weeks.  It was just a matter of having enough time (and will) to do it.

Now that the weather improved (finally), was in the mid-70s and sunny during the day, and I finally had some free time in the afternoon, I decided to go for the 5k run that I said I was going to do.  Brooke’s due date is coming up and my jogging will drop off precipitously thereafter, so I was running out of opportunities to get it done…unless I was going to get up earlier…but that’s just silly…

As you can see above, I ended up actually going about 5.38 km, so I over-shot a bit.  Shucks.

Still, I’m hopeful I can continue running most days during the week.  Perhaps I’ll need to shift to weekend jogging for awhile after “Clarence” arrives, as I’m confident my sleep will be disrupted enough such that I won’t want to do anything on weekday mornings.  Brooke picked me up some better jogging pants so, as it gets colder, I should be able to extend the routine a bit.

Regardless, I’ve proven I’m capable of running a 5k.  At least I know I can do it.