Monday, August 27, 2007

Buried Treasures II

We found these on V's camera and realized that we never shared them. Here are some photos of Justin's visit to the doctor @ 6 weeks old.

"You've gotta be kidding me... you're not really
my doctor, are you? Where's the manager?"

"Don't even think about it."

I've got a left hook for you if you get any closer..."

"I'm warning you!!!!"


"Um... can a brother have his diaper back?


Buried Treasures I

I was digging through our digital crates and storage yesterday and came across some pre-Justin photos and footage that I just had to add to our scrapbook [Okay... eventually I really will start to focus on my work again... I promise... but for now... ]

Just two days before Justin was born, V surprised me with a trip to the batting cages. It was great. We were absolutely certain that Justin would follow the family tradition of punctuality and be born exactly on his due date (hey, he was only off by 2 hours, 4 minutes) so this would've been our last chance to wobble out and have some fun.

As big of a baseball fan as I am, you'd think I'd at least know how to hold a baseball bat, but truth be told, I'm not even sure if I've ever played the game before in my life. I have a vague memory of playing once when I was about 9 or 10, but details are sketchy. Anyhow, it was an awesome surprise, and I was just shocked that I made contact even once. We also played a round of miniature golf and had dinner @ Freemason Abbey's (less than stellar food, but nice atmosphere). Everything was cool until V tried to get in the batting cage. I had to knock her upside the head and remind her that she was 8.975 months pregnant. It was bad enough that she was out in 97 degree weather trying to hit a golf ball that she could barely see over her stomach.

Anywayz, be sure to check out the video. Enjoy.


With only 10 days separating V's last day of work from Justin's due date, I'm proud to say that she made it to the very end of the school year! How's that for dedication? She is awesome!!!

Saturday, August 25, 2007


3 quick notes...

Yesterday was Millie's official first day as our babysitter. V starts work this coming week, so it was basically a trial run for Monday. She was out of the house but essentially still available in case something came up. And at the end of the day, mom was happy, Millie survived (or should I say Millie was happy and mom survived?) and Justin barely knew the difference.

Also, as of just 2 or 3 days ago, Justin learned the power of his middle three fingers as a pacifier. He does it just as emphatically (and loud) as he does everything else, which makes it funny to watch. The nice thing is that he's self-soothing, which makes for longer naps (he can put himself back to sleep), quieter wake time, and less pre-nap whining since "sucking to sleep" is replacing "crying to sleep" at least once or twice a day.

And last but not least, overall it seems like his temperament is changing. When it's time to eat, there has never been any calming, soothing or quieting him aside from inserting the breast or bottle into his mouth. Instead at every mealtime, almost without fail, he would scream like he was shot in the leg until we got around to feeding him. However, slowly but surely, he seems to be realizing that we will not starve him... allowing us to calm him down and actually play with him a bit while the opposite parent prepares the meal.

It doesn't seem like much, but any parent with a fussy baby will tell you that eliminating just those 12 minutes of baby hysteria each day goes a long way to restoring your sanity. And it's also hard not to interpret it as a sign of maturity on Justin's behalf. In my opinion, we've done everything we can to milk every stage for all that it's worth so that we have fewer regrets once it's gone... but even with that it's impossible not to look forward in anticipation when we see just how much he changes from one day to the next.

As it stands, two months feels like a lifetime of events (in a good way), and we've got a long way to go.


Last night, on the eve of his two-month "birthday", Justin decided to do some solo work on the blog.

"Can't you see I'm working here?...
Well, while you're up, I'll take a latte grande expresso frappuccino.
It's gonna be a long night."

Deep concentration...

followed by eventual frustration...

and finally by fatigue...

"I'll finish in the morning."

Friday, August 24, 2007

Milestones, part III

Justin is 2 months old today, which means it's time for the next milestone check.

2 months
• Vocalizes: gurgles and coos
• Follows objects across field of vision
• Notices his hands
• Holds head up for short periods

(1) yep, he's coo'ing a lot lately [video link] (2) yes, working on his hand-eye coordination [video link] (3) yes (4) yes, long periods actually.


3 months
• Recognizes your face and scent
• Follows objects across field of vision
• Notices his hands
• Visually tracks moving objects

(1) yes (2) yes (3) yes (4) He' s a little slow with the head movement, but he'll try to keep up with you


4 months
• Smiles, laughs
• Can bear weight on legs
• Coos when you talk to him

(1) no... that would be cool though. Definitely no laughing yet, but we've seen glimpses of voluntary smiles. Nothing worth writing about yet, though. (2) you're joking, right? [video link] (3) yes, but not consistently. If you catch him in the right mood, though, he's just about as talkative as they come.

As for other things, he is still not sleeping through the night any more than the previous milestone entry. Asleep around 10pm, up for a quick feeding around 3:30am, then up again to start his day around 6. At six weeks old, he got us all excited when he started skipping that 3:30 meal and sleeping straight 'til 5-something... but after about a week, the early bird feeding crept back into his routine and we were back to sleeping in shifts. Bummer.

Speaking of sleep, we never did mention where he sleeps. For one, he never did sleep in the bed with us. Personally, I can't figure out how those other parents chance the prospect of rolling over with babies in the bed... V and I are not "still sleepers" and so that's way too scary of a thought to me. Aside from that, we're also not big on starting habits that we'll later have to fight to break (hence no pacifier either). So with that the evolution was...

Week 1... mostly in the hospital

Week 2... Bassinet in mom and dad's room at the foot of the bed

Week 3... Independence! When he was in the room with us, Justin was waking me up with every little hiccup, gurgle or position shift that he made... meanwhile, V's narcolepcy kept her sleeping like a baby). I think I got about 52 minutes of REM sleep that entire week... So one day the bassinet mysteriously disappeared from our room (insert evil grin) and reappeared in the baby's room (hey, I didn't paint that room for nothing!). Mommy had withdrawal symptoms for 3 more days, but daddy suddenly began to sleep with a smile on his face.

At that point, it was also pretty obvious that Justin preferred to sleep on his stomach... but we had to hold off on making that routine for obvious safety reasons. For now though, we give him the privilege if we're up and around to keep a close enough eye on him. When does sleep on this stomach, it's lights out for a nice amount of time.

Week 4... From the bassinet to the crib... and he's been there ever since. And as quickly as he outgrew the bassinet, I'm guessing that we may end up with a toddler bed sooner than we anticipated.

Good grief. This boy needs to get a job.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Back to Work

"Where's daddy going?"

With classes starting back tomorrow, it will be interesting to see how well I manage to keep up with the blog and photo archive. The first week back (which was last week) is always nice. Yes, they beat us over the head with umpteen mandated meetings and workshops... But at the least, it served as a nice buffer between what was essentially 3 months of unemployment and the nonstop rigor of what promises to be (day-in and day-out for the next 9 months) a demanding job as usual. As it stands, I'm still trying to readjust to being on any type of schedule that doesn't involve a baby, a bottle, and a temper tantrum waiting to happen. But slowly and surely, I'm getting there.

As far as keeping up with the blog, having a creative outlet is almost a requirement for me (otherwise I'll go crazy... just ask my wife) so I may do okay. But then when I think of the prospect of trying to balance family time, wife time, baby time, work, gym, house chores, summer projects, etc... I hear a little voice laughing at me from inside my camera bag telling me to kiss my handful of hobbies goodbye. As it is, I already have a good handful of things I'd like to do or blog about but just haven't had the time (see below). My guess is that either the backlog will continue to grow and I'll adjust... or I'll go crazy trying to keep up with my own to-do list.

So... long story short, if we should go missing from cyberspace for hours, days, or even weeks at a time... don't be too quick to plaster our faces on anybody's milk carton. With my impending return to the classroom, and V following suit in just a week or so; just know that we're probably still here... somewhere... doing what we can to adjust to real life again.

Blog entries currently in my head that may never see the light of day:

(1) finances and budgeting
(2) the undying prospect of us moving / relocating
(3) Justin's new toy and posse of friends
(4) our first home visit with the nanny / babysitter
(5) my continued "threat" of starting a photography business, and
(6) my first "date night" with V since Justin's birth... which came compliments of DeVon and Danah who I think deserve a couple of "I survived a night with Justin Alexander" tee-shirts.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Baby Steps

The funny part about being first-time parents is that sometimes you don't know what is and isn't a milestone because everything is new to you. But during our trip to SC last weekend, V's family (i.e., the Committee of Veteran Baby Makers) clued us in to a number of things that we were taking for granted with Justin...

For one, we just figured that all infants were able to stand on their own two feet. Granted, he obviously can't balance himself yet, but I'd venture a guess that Justin has been able to stand with some balancing help at least since week 4 or 5, with the time intervals getting longer as his strength improves. I'd say that he can now stand for about 3 minutes at a time, and then decides that it's time to sit (i.e. fall) down... but then no sooner than his butt hits the floor he'll pop right back up.

So... being the ambitious parents that we are (poor child)... last night we decided to see if he had any interest in walking. It was obviously more of a joke than anything else (yes, we know he's 7 weeks) but I've gotta say that he surprised us both.

Funny Stuff!!

Of course we're smart enough to know that he won't really be walking anytime soon... but it was still funny to see.

Tune in 3 weeks from now to see Justin ride a bike.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Born Yankees Fan

In Hampton Roads, the the Baltimore Orioles are considered our "home team" (even though we're 3 hours away... go figure) and so their more popular games are televised on our local channels. With the Yankees in town this week, it seemed like the perfect opportunity to teach Justin a little bit more about the game of baseball, and also how to use the remote control.

He preferred to use his feet for whatever reason, but was still able to successfully switch back and forth between the game, ESPN highlights, and a TNT Law and Order re-run.

Seven weeks and a day old. What a prodigy.

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Who's Baby Are You?

Who’s baby is this anyway?

One of the mysteries that remains to be solved is who does Justin look like? It’s funny that people feel obligated to make a determination as to which parent a baby looks like. With Justin having his own unique physical characteristics, it’s been interesting to see folks scramble to find the right non-offensive comment to make on this subject. I usually chime in pretty quickly and let them off the hook by acknowledging openly – that Justin looks like neither one of us – not yet anyway. Once people hear me (“the momma”) say that out loud, they then tend to relax and agree because that happens to be the truth for now.

With that being said, as Justin changes each day, there are a couple of features that have become more prominent that seem to resemble those of mom or dad. For example, one of the things that I’ve noticed lately is the identical “look” that Jerome and Justin have when they lift their eyebrows. The wrinkles that form in their foreheads are identical and it is just so adorable to me. That particular expression is one of the most memorable things that I noticed about Jerome when we first started dating. So, to see that our son has inherited the same expression just tickles me. I am sure he’ll be sweeping some beautiful young lady off her feet with that look after he gets out of med school.

Jerome’s mom also noticed that there’s a resemblance to me from the nose down in this particular picture. So, I suppose the mystery remains unsolved and we’ll have to continue to wait as Justin grows into a toddler – little boy – teenager – young adult and grown man. Chances are there’ll be a combination of both of us and our families throughout each stage of his development. How exciting it will be to stand back and watch the progression. If nothing else, thanks to dad, we’ll have plenty of pictures to document the similarities and differences along the way!

Under Contract

As of today, after a gruelling 15 weeks and 3 days on the market (but who's counting?) we are officially under contract with our PA flip property!!

First and foremost, I should mention that if anyone has been looking for my previous posts concerning this property, you are not crazy. A couple of weeks ago, I removed them from the Real Estate category after something improbable happened. Long story short, according to my tracking logs, someone within range of the house ended up finding this blog via a Google search for "utilities for 5 bedroom house in Tobyhanna"... or something to that effect. For obvious reasons, my mind went in a thousand different directions trying to figure out if this was one of our potential buyers that now, instead of writing a contract, were perusing photos of how miserable the house looked before we started the renovations. And of course no one wants to see the before pictures of the house they're going to buy. So without any mention or hesitation, down came the entries and corresponding photos... but they're not gone forever. We'll repost all of them as soon as we turn the corner on this transaction.

Anyway, I look back now at one of my initial blog entries concerning the sale of this property, and can only shake my head at how wrong I was. With confidence (and first-time-flip optimism) I declared that the first family that looking at the house would buy it. So much for my career as a tarot card reader.

That's not a smile, it's a look of disgust.
Cleaning the nastiest indoor bathroom I've ever
seen has to be worth at least 10 grand.

But the ironic part is, in the midst of my false declaration, V and I still managed to somehow budget pretty accurately as to what it would cost to carry the house until it was sold. Our estimate going in was $6000 in expenses (including everything from mortgage payments to property-related telephone calls) . Granted, all of the financial details are not in just yet, but in estimating the only (?) 4 expenses we have left (electric and water for August, final payment for homeowners insurance, and the interest accrued on our line of credit) I'm coming up with $6612... which makes $6000 a pretty doggone good estimate for a couple of flip rookies. As for the selling price and all of the other financials, I'll hold off on that until it's totally a done deal. So sit tight nosey people :o) You'll be all up in our business in no time. For now, I will at least say that we had to bend a little bit more than I wanted to in terms of the selling price and seller's assist amount. But then (a) every seller probably says that, and (b) that's pretty consistent with what I wrote about in the previous entry as far as the market being brutal right now on the seller's end. I remember my inside connection to the real estate world (i.e., mom) mentioning something like there being only about 900 houses on the market this time last year in our selling area... compared to over 3000 this year. That's a lot of inventory... which is causing housing prices to drop like hot potatoes; sellers to lose their collective minds; and buyers to walk away with fantastic deals, excited and euphoric, feeling like they stole something.

And so with that, I don't have to tell you that our first order of business will be to quite possible jump right back into the game... hoping to cash in some chips on the buyers end of this bear market, and maybe come away with another SC rental property for dirt cheap (relatively speaking anyway).

But like everything else, only time will tell. For now, we're content to just bask in the glory of having a contract.


Now we just have to pray that the inspection report turns up zilch.

Vacuuming almost 3000 square feet of new carpet took a whole lot longer than my dad and I anticipated. I think we used at least a dozen vacuum bags, including the ones we emptied and reused over and over again (how ghetto!)

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Summer Projects

In our neighborhood, there are six houses (including ours) that were all built within months of each other back in late 2004. As is the trend these days, the builders bought a single lot, knocked down one house, and put up six. While our total yard space is still reasonable for an urban location, it's still a reminder that getting a nice chunk of land in "the city" without either being filthy rich or having to sell your children is rapidly becoming a thing of the past. I wonder how long will it be before the neighborhoods here are like those back in Brooklyn: neighbors inches apart, garages nonexistent, and total yard space just an 8 by 10 concrete slab behind your house for your dog to pace back and forth. I'm sure it won't happen in my lifetime, but it does seem to be the inevitable fate of every booming metropolis.

... that, and soaring housing costs.

3 months ago, our neighbors put their house on the market for $329,000. That's over $100,000 more than any of us paid for these houses just 2+ years ago. Needless to say, every other homeowner on the block got antsy at the prospect of six-figure profits as we watched to see what happened. V and I were admittedly tempted to make a move ourselves and cash in on this virtual "real estate lottery" but were smart enough to wait it out and see what happened. The neighbors just behind us weren't so patient though. Before we could blink three times we had back to back neighbors with their houses on the market. At that point it became comical as each one seemingly slashed prices and offered incentives to undercut the other. First the $9,000 undercut. Followed by a 1% price reduction. Followed by "Closing cost paid" incentives, followed by another price slash... V and I just watched in amusement as it looked like the two of them were pounding each other over the head with their lost profits. Granted, the current real estate market likely had more to do with those changes than anything else. As is stands, 3 months later, the market shift has had the last laugh in both cases with both houses still on the market. The lowest asking price is now $299K + CCA, and one neighbor who already moved out and bought a new house has turned their hopes towards finding a rental tenant instead.

With the asking prices so high, we started
getting things fixed up around the house

So where has that left us? Well, likely with less than a six-figure profit if we sold our house today, but definitely still enough to keep alive the notion of relocating. The problem of course is that a move in this type of market only makes sense if you are moving out of state (or at least pretty far away) since selling high means you'd have to buy high, too. In other words, barring something weird happening, we'd have to pay 50% more just to move into a house equivalent to our current one (so much for those profits). So until we're ready to either shop foreclosures (which these days aren't much of a bargain) or change our area code, it looks like we'll be staying put a little longer.

But watching our neighbors did teach me one valuable lesson: Invest in your home NOW while you can still enjoy the improvements. What a travesty it is (in my opinion anyway) to have to invest hundreds or thousands of dollars to essentially renovate your home and make it inviting, comfortable, and stunningly beautiful... for someone else to enjoy it. So went the story for our neighbors, who had the worst lawn on the block since inception, but upon putting their house on the market became avid gardeners: investing in landscaping, planting flowers, and watering their lawn almost as diligently as they used to park on it. This on top of whatever other recommendations their realtor made in order to make the house "market ready".

So with that, and much to V's delight, I made a list some weeks ago of everything that we've said we wanted to do (ha ha... "we"...) to the house at some point in time to improve our contentment with where we live. Aside from the obvious excuse that usually delays such projects (cha-ching), the other reason for aversion is typically the thought of "why invest so much time and money when we may not even be here in a year?"... but the truth is (a) we're here now!!! , and (b) time is a funny thing. My guess is that people use that excuse for months on end, and before you know it, it's been 8 years and they're still in the same house with the same white walls, unfinished basement, garage they can't use because its full of junk, rickety fence, and closet door that never really closed quite right. And then comes your real estate agent to tell you that you should invest $4000 to fix these and other things so that the next owners can be as comfortable and content as you could've been in your own house for the past eight years.

Like I said before... travesty. For me, I would reek of frustration. And so my goal (that I'm now pushing on anyone and everyone who will listen) is to get those things we always wanted to do done... and keep our house up to the best of our ability. This way, when it comes time to move, all we'll have to do is pack our stuff; knowing that our house is not only market ready, but that we enjoyed it to the max while we where there. As far as a list, here's what we came up with:

Complete second half of closet redesign (here's the before shot)
Stretch or replace buckling carpet upstairs
Lattice to enclose back deck
Replace fence hardware
Install more pantry shelves
New patio furniture & umbrella
Recaulk bathroom sink
New wall mirror for master bath
Install gutters
Paint front patio
... and the 8 other things V will add to this list once she reads this entry

We do try to keep things up fairly well on a routine basis, so it's admittedly (and thankfully) not much of a list. Shutters were the one thing that V had been asking for since we moved in, so I took care of those first. And I've gotta admit that they made a huge difference. Plus once I found out how inexpensive they were, it really became absurd that we hadn't gotten them earlier. Next, I knocked out the closet organization in a weekend just to give myself a sense of accomplishment (V's half was completed some time last year). After that, I figured that I would tackle the most labor intensive job next in order to get it out the way while I still have the motivation: the landscaping. As of yesterday, I'm (dead tired but) happy to say that the landscaping is about 95% done. All that's missing is some perennials to add some color. But after working in the yard for over a week, I'm content to wait until this string of 95+ degree days (heat index 104) breaks and cooler weather prevails. As for the other to-do's, thanks to Justin, most got pushed to the back burner this summer. But now with just a few days before I head back to work I'm hustling to get as many done as possible before the tide changes. I've only completed 3 items so far (plus some odd jobs here and there not worth mentioning) and I can already say that the amount of pride that we take in our home has increased substantially. It's like every little improvement brings the house back to feeling new again. I can already see that the more we do, the more I'm not going to want to move anytime soon. But then, I felt that way after my last big project too, and so I know that the feeling will fade. Either way, considering the alternative, I guess that's a good problem to have.

Who said that you can't brush your teeth and wash your face at the same time? (smile)... But thanks to the "genius" who installed a 3 foot mirror between our double sinks, it is impossible to see more than 1/2 your face if you stand directly over either sink... which leaves V and I constantly vying for position and bumping elbows in the middle (I usually end up using the other bathroom).

The only two items that I was on the fence about (pun intended) were the gutters and the fence repair. As the two most expensive items, both of those still had me pondering, "Well, how long are we really going to be here anyway??..." And so they were at the bottom of the priority list... until it rained two nights ago and the gallons of water that poured violently from the roof undid the hours of work I spent leveling, tilling, and preparing the planting area in the front yard. And so now we have a free Home Depot consultation scheduled for a gutter price estimate, as my Martha Stewart-esque gardening efforts shall be in vain no more!! :o)

12 days until school starts, 9 items to go.

To be continued.

"I said put the tree on the LEFT side.. LEFT side!!!!"

...(what a tough supervisor).

Once I find time to do so, the rest of the landscaping project will be documented in the photo archives.

Friday, August 3, 2007

Random Outbursts

7 minutes and 54 seconds with Justin Alexander...

7:58:24 am
Sound Asleep

8:00:34 am
Justin awakes with mischief in his eyes

8:01:20 am
"Where am I... and who are you anyway?"

"Ha Ha... Gotcha"

"Wait... I think I'm still tired."

Agony and anguish...

... progresses to distress and torment

8:03:22 am
The cool down period

8:05:23 am

8:06:18 am
Like nothing ever happened

Dreaming of the next random outburst.

Thursday, August 2, 2007

PA Baby Shower

With us living in VA, V's family in SC and mine in PA, we had to get a little creative as to how we were going to give everyone the opportunity to celebrate V's pregnancy and Justin's arrival. With that, the only solution that didn't have us zipping up and down the east coast with V eight months pregnant was to have one of the 3 showers after the baby was born. A little unconventional, but in hindsight I have to say that the trip up north this past weekend (July 27-30) went incredibly well. Justin's behavior was stellar throughout the day (we were a little worried with it being such a long day, and outdoors at that). Granted, they didn't get to see the how fantastically beautiful V was while she was pregnant... but everyone was ecstatic to not just bless us with gifts, but to also be able to meet the recipient himself for the first time... a huge bonus ingredient that was missing from the first 2 showers for obvious reasons.

In all, I was once again overwhelmed by how much love everyone brought to the table, and just want to say thanks again to everyone who attended... Aunts Doreen and Audrey; Cousin Eric, Cousins Nicole, Kenya and their families, Grandma Esperanza and Cousin Stephanie; Uncle Henry, Aunt Gina, Amir & Akil; Vanessa Ortiz and family; Anjail and Eva; Dave & Myra; Shanee and Lawrence; and my mom's Keller Williams co-workers Dawn, Naomi, Stephanie, Wendy, and Tracey (who almost stocked Justin's closet all by herself). Between all of the money and jazzy outfits that Justin got at the shower, I'm not sure if we'll be able to keep him from going out on Friday nights anymore.

As always, you can find a few more photos in the photo archive.

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Milestones, part II

Finding time to blog lately has been impossible. And of course, the further behind that I fall, the harder it is to catch up since it's difficult to figure out exactly where to jump back in. As it stands, I've got about 3 more blog entries swimming around in my head, trying to make their way out. But every time I touch the keyboard, it's either time to feed, change, sleep, eat, clean, work, etc. And so opportunities and "quiet times" come and go before I have a chance to do much with it.

And with that, so many milestones (well, "mini milestones", really) have come and gone that I've lost track of most of them. But then on the other hand, I'm also trying to be mindful that EVERY new thing Justin does is not worthy of being called a milestone (ahem... are you listening, proud momma?). Nobody wants to become those obnoxious parents that send out greeting cards commemorating the first time junior sneezes three times in a row ("awww... how cute!!!") but I can definitely see how it happens. It's a slippery slope.

Nonetheless here's my attempt to walk the line: updating the world on our child's progress without becoming one of those obnoxious parents that I just wrote about.

Most notably, Justin has been "sleeping through the night" (in newborn terms) consistently for almost two weeks now. By that what I mean is that he wakes up for exactly one feeding overnight, has learned to go directly back to bed afterwards, and consistently extends his eating cycle times from 2 - 3 hours to at least about 5 hours at night.

Using the books we read as a guideline, this was a goal that V and I were very deliberate with since his first days home from the hospital. And it certainly has been a gradual process. Of course we're smart enough to know that we can't take all of the credit (I think some babies are just more willing to comply with the nighttime thing than others)... but it is a goal that we've been very deliberate with from jump (monitoring his naps, bedtime routine, daytime & nighttime activities, etc.). He's been good with knowing nighttime from daytime pretty much since birth, but for the most part, he was still waking up for his usual 3-hour feeding intervals until sometime during the 4th week. At that point, it was like someone hit a switch, and he decided that one feeding a night would be sufficient. As a newborn, we're still not supposed to let him go too long (about 5 hours) without eating... but after the around-the-clock feeding frenzy that was his first month of life, I'll gladly take only having to wake up once for about 15 minutes between, say, 10pm and 6am. And so with that, life has been grand.

I'll also admit that I almost didn't want to write about this sleeping through the night just because I didn't want to jinx us. In fact, I waited a week to log this entry just to make sure it was the "real thing", and sure enough he has slept through the night without fail the entire time. But of course, just because I'm writing this now, he'll make a mockery me tonight and wake up for a full feeding every 25 minutes. Such is life.

Anyway, in addition to that, he now also has tears and the ability to generate 4 gallons of saliva in 9 minutes flat. It's funny in hindsight, but until they starting streaming about 2 weeks ago, it simply never occurred to me that he didn't have any tears when he cried. And while that's not a typical milestone, I will say that it totally changes the game when you're trying to deny him anything. Letting him "cry it out" has a whole new meaning when you know it leads to welled up eyes and a pathetically soggy face. And so begins the making of a spoiled little baby.

And as for the spittle, call me the eternal optimist, but I honestly thought that we'd be the first parents ever with a non-drooly baby. Hey, we had almost 5 good weeks without even so much as a drop of spit trickling down his chin. But I guess his saliva glands kicked into high gear about the same time that the tears turned on. Now we've got that same nasty drool that everyone else does... you know, the type that gyrates up and down from his mouth like a bungee cord, growing to about 10 inches long, but simply refuse to break off. Nope. It'll just hang there until it either finds its way onto your favorite shirt or you wipe it. Otherwise, it will just oscillate forever. And while I'm admittedly exaggerating at this point (it's not quite that bad yet) I can definitely see the slippery slope that we're headed down with this one (... ick ...)

Last but not least (and a little less nasty) I think Justin's infatuation with faces kicked in almost right after I last wrote about his reluctance for eye contact. He'll now stare at you for days. In fact, he's not consistent with it, but at last as of last week, if you stick your tongue out at him, he'll mimic you and do the same right back. We probably entertained ourselves with this "neat little trick" longer than we should have (shameful parents) but sleep deprivation is a funny thing sometimes.

And on that note, I should close this entry out and try to "sleep while the baby sleeps", as every baby book under the sun recommends. Even though I have about 1000 other ways that I'd rather spend this quiet time, I know that if I don't sleep now I'll regret it tomorrow when he's hollering and I'm trying to take a nap.

We picked out a super fantastic infant-to-toddler bathing tub... only to find out that he prefers a good ol' fashioned sink bath. Go figure. The good news (?) is that at the rate that he's growing, he won't last long in the sink anyway.