Two Month Visit

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Well today Benjamin had his two month visit at the doctors office…this is the one I have been dreading!

He now weighs 13 lbs 9 oz and is 22.5 ins long…..he is getting big! The first part of the visit went very well: he is doing great for his age and following his growth curve to a tee. He is a healthy and happy 2 month old…..that is until the nurse brought in 4 needles for him to be vaccinated with!! Four needles….I didn’t like the looks of this…anyway considering that he got stuck 4 times he did great — although the whole office heard that he was not happy about it. And I got a little tear in my eye….it’s not fun to see your baby cry like that when you know they are in pain.

Anyway we are home now and he’s sleeping so here’s hoping that he doesn’t react to the shots and that he doesn’t get a fever!

Credit Worthy (again)

credit.jpgThe final major hurdle to normal life in the USA for us has been credit. We don’t need credit, or particularly want it, but there’s a limit to what you can do without it. Without a credit history, cell phones are more expensive (if you buy them from a store, but really who does that?), you can’t do things like buy a house, and if an emergency should arise, we’d be stuck pulling money over from Canada.
We found out, a couple months after we moved here, that despite having a Canadian credit history, a bank account, an apartment, a job and an SSN, we don’t really exist as far as the US banks are concerned. Applying for even the “pre-approved” offers you get in the mail was futile, because we weren’t in the system. We’re not sure if we’ll ever buy a house in the States, but we’d sure like to have the option available to us!
Finally after a year here, we’ve proved our existence (and income) enough for our bank to extend us a whopping $500 credit card. On one hand this is limiting. On the other hand, it’s great. We really have no intention of going on a shopping spree any time soon, and we’ve gotten so good at living off cash only, that it’s really just a luxury to have it. But what it means is that we get to start fresh with a brand new credit history.
Remember when you went away to college and got your first $500 student credit card, and your parents and friends said “use it for groceries and pay it off as soon as you get home?” Advice that, if followed, would leave you with a powerful credit rating. Raise your hand if you followed that advice… I know my hand isn’t up. I think the first thing I did, 17 and flush with credit, was buy myself a cell phone and a mini disc player — very cool at the time, but I’m pretty sure there’s still a few dollars of that purchase on a credit card somewhere. I wouldn’t say I was horrible with my credit — my rating in Canada is around the average mark, and we accrued less debt between the two of us than 70% of college students. But if I could do it again, I would have been a lot more careful.
And now I can! And by that I mean: Nic will have the credit card, and I’ll continue to sell things on eBay if I want to buy myself a new toy (I’ve already figured out what I’ll have to sell to be able to afford an iPhone). And we’ve vowed to buy groceries with it, and pay it off as soon as we get home…

Colic… awesome…

All babies cry — it’s one of the main ways they communicate. But some babies cry more than others do. And some, although they’re healthy, well-fed and well cared for, seem to cry inconsolably. If your baby cries about the same time each day and nothing you do seems to comfort him or her, your baby may have colic.
Uh-oh…
Predictable, recurring crying episodes. A colicky baby cries around the same time each day, usually in the late afternoon or evening. Colic episodes may last anywhere from a few minutes to three hours or more on any given day, although babies with colic are likely to cry as long as two to three hours several days a week. The crying usually begins suddenly and for no clear reason.
Activity. Many colicky babies draw their legs onto their abdomens, clench their fists, tense their abdominal muscles, or thrash around and appear to be in pain during these crying episodes.
Intense or inconsolable crying. Colic crying is intense, not weak or sickly. Your baby’s face will likely be flushed, and he or she will be extremely difficult, if not impossible, to comfort.
That sounds familiar…
Hold your baby. Cuddling helps some babies. Other infants quiet when they’re held closely and swaddled in blankets. Don’t wrap your baby too warmly at bedtime though — sometimes colicky babies wake up because they’re too warm. Most of all, don’t take it personally if your baby doesn’t always seem to want to be held.
Keep your baby in motion. Gently rock your baby in your arms or in an infant swing. Or lay your baby tummy down on your knees and then sway your knees slowly. Take a walk with your baby, or go for a drive with your baby in an infant car seat.
Try constant background sound. Some infants with colic cry less when they hear a background sound that stays at a low, steady volume. When holding or rocking your baby, try making a continuous “shssss” sound. Other tricks to try include running a vacuum cleaner, turning on a kitchen or bathroom exhaust fan, or buckling your infant in a car seat placed next to a running clothes dryer.
Well I guess that explains a lot…
Colic usually starts a few weeks after birth, peaks at about 6 weeks of age and usually improves markedly by your baby’s third to fifth month.
5th month?! Here’s hoping the vacuum lasts that long…

Luv Addict

ff5.jpgFamily Force 5: How have I not heard this band before?
They’re hilarious, they rock and they’re Christian! Awesome…
From the song “Replace Me”
Desperation
Needing you
Every last breath
I scream for you
Shatter me into a million pieces…Make me new

Crush me, tear me, break me, mold me
Make me what you want me to be
I am ur’s for you to use
so, Take and Replace me with U

It sucks AND it saves baby's lives…

Thank you, thank you, thank you to our friend Chad Clem for suggesting we try the vacuum.
We haven’t had a good night’s sleep since our trip home to Canada — Benjamin wakes up almost every hour on the hour. Nic takes the brunt of it, but when I work 10-12 hours a day, I’m exhausted and can’t help very much. I was about at the point of trying to take him back to the hospital in exchange for a quieter model, when Chad told us about the vacuum….
All you have to do is turn it on and lean it against the crib. This works in three ways:

  • The subtle vibrations soothe the baby
  • The noise distracts him and then eventually lulls him to sleep
  • And the white noise drowns out his crying so that we can sleep

Of course we have our video monitor in action now (thanks Grandpa) so we can keep an eye on him. And I imagine we’ll go through a few vacuum belts before he gets through this little phase. But it’s soo worth it to be able to sleep for more than an hour at a time.

Limp Home Mode

If I’d known about this, it might have been easier to understand what was going on with our car. Despite Nic, and her dad’s, best efforts, the SUV is still out of action.
We’d hoped that a little driving around would warm it up and resolve whatever issue it was working through, so we drove it up to the church on Friday. On the way there we stopped by an auto parts store to have them read the computer (they’ll do it for free if they think you want to buy some parts from them) but it wouldn’t spit out an error code. So we drove on, and I noticed that I couldn’t get the vehicle going faster than 35mph or revving above 3500rpm.
I added these facts to the list of symptoms we reported to our auto adviser, but that only served to confuse the issue. Sparks also come out of the exhaust pipe, and yesterday I started it up to keep the battery alive, and noted that debris was coming out as well. So we have:

  • The fan kicks in immediately as if the vehicles over-heating
  • The engine won’t rev very high
  • Acceleration is under-powered
  • Weird vibrating
  • Debris and sparks from the exhaust pipe

Well it turns out the first 3 things are the result of something called Limp Home mode. When the computer can’t figure out what the problem is (evidenced by it’s inability to show an error code) it puts the vehicle in Limp Home mode. A mode that limits engine use to keep the user from accidentally destroying the engine by driving too hard or too fast.
So it’s a relief to know that half the issues can be solved simply by fixing what’s causing the other issues. But it’s still a little nerve-wracking to have fire and junk spitting out the back of our car. We’re gonna have to bite the bullet it and take it into the dealership on Monday — fortunately we have warranty for another 20,000km, so it shouldn’t cost us very much. But it’s still pretty amazing to me that God let us finish our road trip home before our vehicle choked. Not quite sure how we’re going to do the rest of this weekend without a vehicle, but we’ll figure it out…

The Wise Family Traveling Circus

100_2921.jpgWe got in the car at about 9:00 last Thursday morning, for our 8 hour drive home, without a clue of what to expect from Benjamin. Nic prepared us for almost anything, packed us a lunch in case we couldn’t stop, and had cash on hand in case we had to stop, but it turns out that Benjamin doesn’t mind long drives at all. Almost every time he needed to eat, we were ready for a break anyway, and most of the time he cried we could solve it by turning up the volume on the music, or driving a little faster (he has a need for speed, like all Wise boys). We hit some horrific snow in Syracuse, but ended up safe back home Thursday night, almost on schedule. Having Benjamin along didn’t really slow us down at all.
Friday we ran errands in the morning, Nic visited her old work, and we took Ben to meet his great grandpa, and in the afternoon we parked our butts at Pam’s place and visited with some friends who dropped by. In the evening my parents threw a family thing, with all the aunts and uncles in the area, who showered Ben with gifts, despite my protests. He didn’t sleep well at all during the weekend — I think he could tell he was in a new place, so he fussed a fair bit, but it was good for my family to meet him.
Saturday we did breakfast in Aylmer and prepared to receive Nic’s well-wishers. I suspect there were easily 60-70 people who arrived during the day, also with gifts, and made noises and funny faces at the baby — who was surprisingly calm through the ordeal. It’s starting to look he’s gonna be an extrovert like his mom, cause while I was about ready to find a rock to hide under, he was gurgling away happily all afternoon. And we did appreciate all the people who came to wish us well.
Sunday morning we went to St. Thomas for church, caught up with a few friends, then went to lunch with our other family. I got to play Excite Truck for the Wii, but we didn’t get to have a Red Alert tourney cause we hurried out the door for our next appointment at Mark and Lis’s, where some pregnant couples and some of our former students came by to observe me changing a diaper and chat about parenthood. Then it was out the door again to Port Stanley for another baby showing — this one a lot quieter and a lot more relaxing.
Monday we drove on gas fumes (I refuse to fill up the car more than once while we’re home, cause that would mean we’re doing wayy too much driving) into London, to visit my old friend Randy in jail. I thought that would be the most challenging visit of the trip, but it turned out to be pretty encouraging. He’s excited to meet his own son, when he gets out in May, and promised me (yet again) that he’s never gonna end up in an orange jumpsuit again. Who knows where Randy ends up next, but I chose to believe he’s gotten it together this time.
The drive back to New York was entirely uneventful — which was just fine with us, cause we were exhausted. I was not relishing returning to work the next day, but it seemed that God had held off the snow just for us. We were totally safe the whole way home, and then totally unable to do anything but veg on the couch for the next two days! I hate being cold, but I couldn’t help but be grateful for the weather-imposed vacation.
I was pretty productive yesterday, nailing down my to-do list pretty fast. And at some point I knew I’d have to go out and rescue our vehicles from the mountains of snow they were covered in. Nic dug out my car, and I had hoped to drive her SUV right out of the snow — only to find that it wouldn’t start. I ended up crawling around in the snow trying to get it free enough that I could jump start it. It did start-up, but it’s still making weird noises and vibrations and smelling kinda funny. Fortunately, my wife is surprisingly handy, so now that it starts and can move around, she’s confident that with a little advice from her dad, she can have it purring again. It might seem strange to some of you guys that my wife is handling this man work, but trust me it’s cool. She knows how to drive a bulldozer and I don’t, so I have a lot of faith in her.
In conclusion: trips home are great, but don’t count as vacations; snow days, however, do count, and we should have more of them; and girls who fix cars are hot.
Thank you to everyone who got us gifts, made the drive to see us, and arranged your plans so that you could spend some time with us and our baby. It was good to see you all!