Tuesday, June 30, 2009


Oh, I can't believe I haven't met my granddaughter yet.

Oh I know she's growing. I'm missing so much.

Oh I miss Justin so so much.

Oh just take me now, Lord.

Okay... repeat that three times a day to anyone and everyone who will listen... and you'll realize that there's only but so much over-the-phone misery a person can take. And so before grandma could break out the banjo and harmonica to call us again with her Blues routine, V decided to break up the monotony a bit and orchestrate a spur of the moment trip to Pennsylvania to surprise the 'rents. Long story short, grandma and poppop were more than happy to jump out of the bed at 1 am to let us in (I'm still wondering if V and I would've gotten in without the kids..) As always we had fun, guys. See you again in 3 weeks!

Tale of the Tape

Last week, Justin & Jasmine had a joint doctor's appointment (2 years for him, 2 months for her). Each got a shot or two, and both came home with a clean bill of health. As far as V and I can remember, his finger prick was the first time that Justin saw his own blood... and he apparently thought it was pretty cool (look... there's Kool-Aid in my finger! Awesome)... As for Jasmine, she measured up on the long side at 23 inches, and tipped the scales at 10 1/2 pounds. Here are the rest of the numbers for both of them.

measure %tile
Justin Height 32.25 in 30th
Weight 25 lb 15th
Head 49 cm 75th
Jasmine Length 23 in 75th
Weight 10.5 lb 50th
Head 40 cm 75th

75th percentile... sorry kids... daddy's head size must've been strong in them genes.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Justin Turns Two!

Justin Milestones XXIII
Justin is two years old today. Incredible. Even though we decided not to have a big birthday party this year (V and I debated this before, but having two kids suddenly made this a no-brainer) we did what we could to make the day special for our toddler turned pre-schooler. Step one was a trip to a place called Jumping Jelly Beans: an indoor inflatable fun gym just 2 miles up the road that I didn't know existed until today. Step two was to return home for naptime, lunchtime and 2 hours of Plaza Sesamo (hey, it's his birthday). Step three was the WOW (World of Wonders) kiddy water park at our local Botanical Garden. And the final step was pizza, cake, and gift opening time with his 3 favorite people in the world (4 if you include Elmo). Overall, a great day. Low stress, lots of activity, and the usual boatload of memories. Happy Birthday Justin!!

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Justin & Melanie

This morning's playground visit.

Click here to view the entire gallery. Scroll down to the "Melanie" gallery. The password is "Hill". Enjoy.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Two By Two

Today, Jasmine is exactly two months old; and Justin is six days shy of (holy cow) 2 years old. Wow. In the words of the Superman prelude, "faster than a speeding bullet..." As expected, time has once again stopped for no one and our two little munchkins will seemingly be all grown up before we know it. Thank God for blogs, digital cameras, and the ability to cherish every moment.

As for what they're up to these days...

Jazzy Milestones IV
For 2 years now, we've had a running joke in our house that whenever I blog about something kid-related, it's a jinx for things to go in the opposite direction. For example, if I said "Justin is sleeping well at night," he would suddenly have 18 nights in a row where he'd wake up every 3 hours. I'd say "he's eating well" and he'd go on a hunger strike. The jinx almost never failed. And evidently, Jasmine has picked up right where Justin left off. It seems that she didn't like my previous entry about her, as the day after I posted Jazzy Milestones III, she resolved the bowel movement issue I blogged about and also began to "talk" on a regular basis. Go figure. She's also getting progressively more active and alert during her wake time, and smiling a bit more (but not consistently, although they do seem more voluntary now). And she loves her brother's company. Just put her in the walker and she will follow the crazy boy with her eyes all across the room, back and forth like a tennis match. Nothing like free nonstop entertainment.

Justin Milestones XXII
Justin is halfway home with potty training (okay, I'm guessing you don't want more details than that). Along with taking away his diaper, we've also taken the rail off of his toddler bed; and surprisingly he has only rolled out once in about a week. Nice work, kiddo. He's also back down to 24 lbs. And yes, we DO feed him. I haven't a clue what's up with the weight gain (or lack there of). It's gotta be the genes.

A couple of weeks ago, V got a bulletin from Babycenter.com entitled, "Resistance: What to do about the endless no's"... and it could not have been more timely. Here's a snippet: the simple fact is that toddlers say "no" because they can. They've just found out that they have a will, and they want to exercise it... This phase often comes on suddenly, leaving parents perplexed over their toddler's newfound defiance.

So needless to say, the past few weeks have required a little more patience than usual. He has also been Mr. Independence, which I guess goes hand in hand with the endless no's... We can't help him up the stairs, we can't help him down the stairs, we can't help him eat, we can't help him empty his potty... we can't help him with pretty much anything. Oh, and his favorite time of day, bathtime, is suddenly viewed as a form of punishment. Combine this with about a dozen other things that have suddenly turned upside down, and just like that I think we've gotten a glimpse of what's so terrible about the number two. If this is any indication, I can see that the next few months are going to be oh so much fun.

Mommy Makeover

Mommy's new look... but wait... first let's check out the "before"...

I was hard pressed to find good pictures for the "before"; which tells me that V has been doing pretty good at avoiding my camera lately. Anyway, I picked the one on the left to show thickness, and even though she's sporting a ponytail, the one on the right shows the length she was dealing with. And without further ado, here's the "after":

Yes... Yes... That's my wife... Thank you, Thank you. I know. Fabulous. Please hold your applause :o) She says she feels 10 pounds lighter, and I guess I see why. That was a lot of hair. I was cool with her going shorter than that, but I think she kept a little length as a father's day gift for me (oh goody). Looks great, babe. Hmm... Now where's the number to that babysitter....

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Daddy Daycare

About 3 weeks ago, V went back to work to close out the school year. And with that was born the Reyes version of Daddy Daycare as I stayed home each day with Justin and Jasmine while Mommy brought home the bacon. Now granted, I'm sure that we would not have lasted as a real business, as my unconventional ways probably would have led to about 48 health code violations, dozens of infractions with the NAIHDA (North American In-Home Daycare Association... okay, so I made that up) and probably 2 or 3 lawsuits.. if Jasmine or Justin could afford a lawyer... But the bottom line is that it was fun while it lasted. The past 2 or 3 weeks have been a phenomenal experience. But as of today, Mommy is officially back in charge. Thanks for the good times kiddos. I can only hope that you enjoyed it as much as I did.

The Odyssey

Friday, June 12, 2009

At The Playground

Kiddie Shorts

Here's more footage that only a grandparent could love (No... really... these videos will bore you to tears if your name is not grandma or grandpa). Just a couple of short videos of Jasmine and Justin doing nothing spectacular (that's your second warning). After pressing play, don't forget to press the HQ buttons for better quality videos.

Corre y Salta (Run and Jump): Justin gets his exercise in after a lesson in jumping.

Look Who's Talking: Jasmine shares her thoughts on world peace, the NBA Finals, and the global economic meltdown.

Mr Funny Man: Justin and his practical jokes. Once he decides he's going to pull a fast one on Daddy, the look on his face is classic.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Baby Rollability

Between all of Justin's items that were either damaged, outright broken, or given away; Jasmine has continued to reap the benefits of replacements and upgrades. Most recently, she got a new set of wheels when we came across a pretty good deal on a walker via CraigsList (although it is questionable as to if the money we saved was negated by the boatload of gas money that was spent to get all the way to SUFFOLK and back... maybe next time I'll grow a brain and map it out first). In light of how much Justin loved being in his walker even months before his feet could touch the floor, I was anxious to give the same tactics a shot with Jasmine. And lo and behold, so far it has been a hit. And in terms of rollability (it's my blog, I can make up words if I want) and fluidity of movement, it's a definite upgrade from the walker that Justin spent so much of his early days in. Sorry bro... had we known that all walkers weren't created equal, we would've hooked you up, too... I promise. But hey, you got some good miles out of that walker.

Anyway, here's Jasmine in her float-mobile. It has a little musical toy attachment for the front tray, but we had to remove it in a failed attempt to prevent you-know-who from claiming the walker as his own (fyi... no, we did not put him in there... he got in himself).

Once those feet start to touch to ground, look out world!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

8 Weeks Removed

... just a little photoshop fun with Jasmine Olivia and a photo of V from the BellyWatch2 series. To think that just 8 weeks ago...

First Flight

This past Saturday, we took a flight (two flights, actually, with an hour-plus layover) to pick up our new ride from Tampa, Florida. Long story short, Justin Alexander did great on both flights. He was a little rambunctious on the first (6:11 am) but it was empty and short enough (38 minutes) that I was able to give him a bit of free reign to be a toddler. Flight #2 was a potential nightmare since it was about 2 hours from DC to Tampa, full to capacity, and by the end of the layover he was WIRED and ready to rip. But as luck would have it, he squirmed in my lap for the first 30 minutes or so, and then passed out for most of the remaining flight. As for Justin's thoughts on the flight, we may as well have been on a city bus, in a movie theatre, or seated at our dining room table with a few extra dinner guests... because I could not get him to acknowledge the fact that we were flying... leaving the ground... amongst the clouds... etc... etc... 

Daddy: Look Justin... the ground is disappearing... the people are getting smaller... and smaller... and we're going UP... Say "UP"... 
Justin: Um... sure. whatever. Can I have my snack now or are you going make me keep looking out the window?

Totally unimpressed. As for the 13 hour drive home, that was equally uneventful (to the point where I had to pull over and tell him, "now Justin... you do know that this is not going to make much of a blog entry... right?)... and most importantly, we made it home safe and sound. And the van drives fantastically. Much better condition than I anticipated inside and out (everything checked out fine at our local mechanic yesterday). Hopefully we'll get some photos of the van itself this weekend; and of course we'll post 'em when we do.

um... okay... where's the ground?

Gate D4 is this way... follow me.

See you in Virginia.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Jazzy Milestones III

Consolation Prize
On a scale of 1 to 10 (with 1 being absolutely inconsolable and available for adoption) I'd say that Jasmine Olivia has gone from a 5 to a 9.7 on the consolable chart. Four times today I picked her up when she was crying and she stopped crying immediately. That's vastly different from the 22 minutes of position juggling that we had to do just days ago to get her to calm down every time she erupted into tears. The last time she cried, I left her in her pack-n-play, and she was asleep about 10 minutes later. She has also turned her cry down a few notches (from "hysterical mayhem" to "mild panic") which has also helped raise my tolerance threshold. So score 8 points for happy babies, 3 points for softer cries, and 2 more points for self-soothing. Daddy's nerves can definitely get used to this. 

Here are some other milestones: At 6 weeks old, Jasmine Olivia...
  • hasn't quite resolved the bowel movement issue that I wrote about last time.
  • had an ugly bout with a rash that went from ear to ear, but it seems to have come and gone already. I'm convinced that it was related to the prune juice that the doctor's recommended, but they're saying that it was just baby acne.
  • is beginning to express a bit more character with her facial expressions, coos, and responses to voices, other sounds, and contact. She'll just about break her neck to find mommy's voice when she hears it. She's also a tad more vocal these days, and becoming more active every day during her wake cycles. Lots of leg action today, for example. Daddy was ready to buy her a bicycle.
  • slept for over 7 hours straight during the past two nights (a little longer than usual) and in general is sleeping great at night.
  • has developed a penchant for standing on her own two feet. When Justin was 3 months old, I remember writing about how adamant he was about standing. Try to sit him down and he would either pop back up to his feet, or cry until you lifted him to his feet. He actually started that trend at about 5 weeks old. Well, in being more laid back in general, Jasmine is not nearly that adamant about standing up ("I'm cool either way, thanks")... but we did notice over the past couple of days that she does support herself well and seems to perk up when you let her stand on your lap. 
  • is wondering how long before her grandparents realize that the May Photo Archive has been uploaded. Enjoy.