What Else is Going On

You may think our life is just about diapers and nap times right now, but you’d be missing two other important focuses of our month of April: Boxes and Numbers.
Boxes because we’re actually packing in earnest now. My goal is to get 3 boxes done a day. Yesterday I did 4. Today I did one — but it was a big one! Its very difficult to pack with a one year old around, because he absolutely loves taking things out of boxes. Nonetheless, we’re making some progress in a fairly organized manor. And I’ll have the better part of a month to do the really hard packing after Nic and the kids are back in Canada.

Numbers because we’re running them constantly.
Numbers between 180 and 220 — thousand. The amount we’re thinking we’re willing to spend on a house. My parents want to co-invest in a place with us, and although we weren’t sure we wanted to look at buying until 2009, having some extra capital kind of accelerates the schedule.
Numbers between 1 and 3. The number of months we’ll essentially have to “squat” in an apartment before we can pull off the actual move into this house we’re going to buy, all our stuff but the bare essentials in storage somewhere so we don’t have to do 2 full moves in 3 months or less.
Numbers between 12 and 19. The number of days before I move my whole family back to Canada, and am once again alone in New York, living off KD, Chunky Soup (oh ya, and left-over Ziti from Sarah.)
Yup, this is going to be a challenging summer. But I suppose it wouldn’t be any fun if it wasn’t just a little bit challenging!
Oh, and word to our Northway friends. We’re going to be at Northway Church – Malta this coming Saturday evening, probably the 6:30 service, and Northway Church – Clifton Park this Sunday, probably the 11:30 service. We’re looking forward to visiting you all and introducing you to Abigail!
And now here’s more of what you’re really here for…

FAAQ: Frequently Asked Abi Questions

Q: Are we getting any sleep?
A: Yes, but nothing continuous. We all nap in the afternoon. Ben’s suddenly found himself with an earlier bed time so that mommy and daddy can get a break. We make it to bed around 11:00, then are up around 1:00 for an hour and a half to two hours — she has a lot of trouble with this feeding. Nic’s up again at around 4, and then we usually sleep until 8. Ben’s getting a bit neglected because he’s used to getting a bottle around 7, then going back down until 8. Now he gets it at 7:45, and we get him out around 8:30, when I’ve done my stretches and we’ve both had time to go to the bathroom in peace.
Q: How is Ben adjusting to Abi?
He’s doing much better. Most of the time he ignores her, but occasionally he tries to help out or give her a hug. He’s really a very good little boy, but he has tried to hit her at least twice, which obviously we’re not cool with. We’re augmenting swats on the butt with time-outs, and will eventually move to those as the main form of reprimand — once he understands that its a punishment.
Q: Is Jon helping out around the house?
Shut up, I do like everything! Nic isn’t allowed to lift 20 pounds or more, which means I do all of the Benjamin stuff since he’s over that amount. She’s still sore when she stands for awhile, which means I do all the kitchen stuff. Pretty much I’m a whirlwind of activity all day long, and the ladies are living in luxory. So there.
Q: When does Jon go back to work?
I’ll go back on Friday, but Nic’s parents are arriving on Wednesday to help out for around a week, so Nic’s well taken care of. She’s been keeping busy with the constant feedings and changings of Abi. Fortunately one great advantage to a newborn is that they stay where you put them, so if we need a few minutes to get something done while Benjamin is napping, we can just put her in her crib, or swing, and not worry that she’s going to toddle off and put a plastic toy through our new TV.
Q: Do you need anything?
Brooke has organized a whole gang of wonderful gals who have signed up for dinners for us through to next week. We have enough Ziti from our friend Sarah to last us until the move, last night we had a delicious and entirely microwavable meal from Brian and Libby, and Leah brought us the best home-made Chicken Noodle soup I’ve ever tasted. And the meals are still coming!
As far as “things” go, Abi has enough clothes that if we wanted we could just throw out each outfit as it gets dirty and not have to worry about ever running out. And between Ben and Abi we have more noisy, singing, colorful plastic toys than you can imagine. In short, no, but best wishes are much appreciated.
Q: Is two kids more than double the work of one?
Yes. Very much so.
Here’s a little video of Ben trying to help Abi with her hat to keep you entertained while Nic and I have a nap…

Getting a New Mattress!

I know this isn’t the kind of news you’re coming to the site looking for these days, but its a big deal for us!
About a year ago we called the store we bought our mattress from to complain about the giant indentation (butt groove, if you will) in our bed. They sent by a “technician” who examined it and told us that, unfortunately, the hole in our mattress was only 1.5 inches deep, and in order to be replaced under warranty it would have to be 2 inches deep.
So we slept on it for another year — the past couple months were me waking up in back agony every day. And finally called for another technician visit. This time we were at the necessary 2 inches.
Now if someone can explain to me how a butt as small as mine can create a 2 inch depression in a mattress, I’ll be very interested to hear it. Nonetheless, its there and they can’t deny it. This afternoon Brooke is taking Benjamin again, to give us a break, and we’re going to pick out our new mattress. My back and I can hardly wait!

Earth Hour 2008

Here’s a pretty cool idea. On March 29th, at 8:00pm — your local time — turn out all your lights for one hour. Find something else to do: our favorite activity when the power goes out is to light candles and play board games, but it doesn’t really matter.
Last year this was done in Sydney, Australia and created a 10.2% energy reduction in the city. Imagine what a powerful symbol that could be if done world wide. Even McDonald’s is getting involved, turning off all of their Golden Arches for the hour.
Its only a symbol of course, but I think its worth the effort. Whether you “believe” in Global Warming and the eventual depletion of fossil fuels or not, its becoming pretty clear that we haven’t been terribly good stewards of this home God gave us. So we’re going to do it — we have two babies who’ll be in bed by that time, so its not like we’ll have anything else to do!
Check out the Earth Hour website for more information, and to sign-up to say you’re involved. And check out TheStar.com’s coverage — Canada is kicking butt at this!

A Stranger With the Door Key…

So now that Abi is here, the countdown has begun. This is it: the move home is a reality, and it’ll be here fast — just over two weeks, in fact.
Our target date for Nic’s move back with the kids is April 12th — the weekend after that if we have to. She’ll have only a couple weeks to get settled and find us an apartment for May. Our stuff gets moved on May 19th. We’ll be silhouettes by then.
That’s a ton of work to do in a very short amount of time. Fortunately once Nic gets home, there’ll be more help on her end. We haven’t been able to pack much knowing that a new baby was arriving, but once the apartment is mostly empty, I’ll be able to start shoving things in boxes.
An international move has higher requirements than your average move across town. Each box must be inventoried, the contents printed on the box and on a separate manifest for use at customs. Once its on the truck, it’ll be gone 2-5 days before we get the call to meet the movers at the border where we’ll get it cleared. Then we wait again for it to arrive at our new home.
We’re trying not to think too much about it right now, and just enjoy having a new baby. But we can’t exactly put it completely out of our minds. The next adventure starts in just a couple weeks…

Finally… my family is home

We made it. All four of us, back under one roof.
Benjamin was initially pretty interested in Abi. He gave her a hug, and rocked her carseat when she started crying. But when Mommy left to feed her, he got really jealous, really fast.
We’re just going to be strict with our routine, and make sure each of us is paying attention to one of them. Hopefully he’ll adjust quickly, and not be too terrible. Right now he wants to pat her head, so maybe that’s a good sign.
Someone once asked me if our kids had nicknames. Here they are: Benjamin is “Monster” like on the muppets, and because we always call him that — Who’s got the monster? Can we put the monster to bed yet? Abi is “Piglet” because she’s been congested since she was born and makes a lot of little grunting noises all the time.
We love them both, and we’re glad to be home.

What a day!

This is Brooke, probably Nic’s best friend in all of New York. Brooke answered our 2:00am text message this morning, and she and Jason brought our little monster into their home around 3:00am and have taken care of everything since. They have a girl, just a few months younger than Ben, and the two of them are hilarious together — but definitely a handful!
They brought Ben by to visit us this evening so he could meet his little sister. Nic started crying when she saw him, which made him cry, but once he got over that he was pretty much indifferent to Abigail. She’ll whip him into shape soon enough.
And this is my family. This has been a quiet welcoming for Abigail. The video won’t be nearly as fancy as we no longer have the hook-ups and support we had when Ben was born. But that did free me up to experience everything a lot more. I’m exhausted — having not slept for more than 5 minutes since 2:00 this morning, and being fueled by adrenaline much of that time — but I am happy. In fact, I might just be the luckiest guy in the world…
New (higher quality) pictures coming in Flickr whenever it decides to refresh itself. Thank you again to everyone who sent some love via the comments. Its pretty cool that we have such a global community of friends who do support us. This was a big day for our family, and we’re so glad you could all be a part of it.

Well That Was Different (with visiting information)

The best piece of advice we got when we got pregnant the first time is that every pregnancy is different. You can read all the books, listen to all the sage wisdom of other mom’s, and memorize all the old wives tales. But the truth is, each experience is unique.
This pregnancy certainly was totally different than that of Benjamin’s. From his perfectly timed conception, to his on-request delivery date, to the orderly, “Type A” labor, he was simple to plan for. Abi, on the other hand, resisted all attempts to plan for her, and all efforts to make her delivery an orderly one.
The whole waking us up at 2:00am was a good sign that it would be an interesting morning. She skipped the whole regularly progressing labor thing, in favor of hanging out in the womb for a bit longer, and then when she was ready to come… there was no time for an epidural — no time even for a trip to the bathroom. We went from occasional contractions to I NEED TO PUSH! NOW!
Nic, of course, was a trooper. My bride is the definition of grace, under almost any kind of pressure. That doesn’t mean she didn’t scream like the lady we heard down the hall. But the whole thing lasted about half an hour (she says it felt like 5 minutes) and the pay off, of course, was wonderful.
Aside from Abi’s apparent tendancy to run things her way, or no way at all, the hospital visit has also been a lot less… comfortable. There was a shift change shortly after we were allowed to see Abi for the first time, and they apparently forgot about us for 2 hours. I pressed the call button a number of times, but it took Nicole trying to get herself to the bathroom (with my help) and blood pooling out onto the floor before we got anyone’s attention.
Things have been a bit better since then, so I’m home to gather up a few things, feed the cat, and grab a shower. Nicole would be happy to see visitors after dinner this evening. Visiting hours are until 9:00pm and we’re in room E635 at the same hospital as last time until at least tomorrow.
A huge thank you to everyone who was praying and cheering for Nic and our new little girl.

Abigail Joan Wise

Born March 25, 5:55am. 8lbs 13 oz, 20″ long.
Breathing (and crying) normally now. Finally got to meet her mother at 6:45am.
If you can’t wait for the Flickr feed to refresh, click on its title to go directly to Flickr and see the pics.