Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Watch Them Grow

Finnegan hit a major milestone the other night -- he rolled over for the first time. Spencer had done some research on how to encourage babies to roll and discovered we should be putting toys above his head rather than to his side. Sure enough, Finn was interested in getting his Octotunes (or, as I say, Auchtung Baby) and made the leap. I had left him on the floor to prepare his cereal and when I looked around the corner, saw him in action.

Shortly thereafter, a song Watch Them Grow came on. The chorus is "You watch them grow, then you let'em go." I danced with Finnegan and teared up thinking of how quickly the past four and a half months have gone. It's not the first time I've had such a reaction to the song. It came on the radio the first day I went back to work. How appropriate.

But he is getting so big so quickly. At four months he was eligble to ride on the "buggy" at day care. In the afternoons babies and toddlers are able to get out of their rooms and ride around the place. The first time I saw him on it, I got a little choked up (parenthood is so emotional!). But now I think he's so cute on it. And he seems to really like it.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

It's a Beautiful Day

I had to go to the Indianapolis Zoo this morning, which is on the west side of downtown. As I drove east, the sky was a brilliant pink and was reflecting off the buildings. It was absolutely beautiful. It truly felt like a new day had dawned with Barack Obama as President.

Our little family watched the inauguration together. Spencer picked Finnegan up from the daycare, which is across the street from my office, and brought him over so we could all mark the historic day together. He might not be as stylish as Michelle, but the Obama Baby onesie was the perfect choice.

Since Spencer and I met through politics and it remains an important part of our lives, I wonder if Finnegan will grow up to show an interest. And while he certainly won't remember the moment President Obama was inaugurated, we wanted him to "see" it.

Monday, January 19, 2009


I'd thought I'd pay homage to the last day in office of our current president -- HOORAY! -- by posting about the types of torture Finnegan has had to endure. The first is what Spencer and I call 'waterboarding.' As the weather is dry, the doctor recommends saline solution for his nose. Of course he doesn't like the process and squirms around, resulting in the solution getting everywhere but his nose.

And for his first week of eating cereal we didn't have a high chair, so he sat in the bouncy seat. To prevent him from grabbing the spoon, we decided the best way to restrain him was to keep his arms under the seat cushion. The jack-o-lantern bib doesn't really say Abu Ghraib.

Bring on Obama!

Fingers and toes

Finnegan has discovered his fingers and toes in the last few days. He's not a thumb sucker, but his left index finger is a favorite. Sometimes the middle finger comes along too. It makes for a slobbery kid.

And while he's not yet putting his foot in his mouth, he has discovered his feet and toes. Being winter, the only time he gets to play with them are during diaper/clothing changes and bath time. Oh to have such flexibility.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

A boy and his dad

So I read an article today about women finding men with kids attractive. Sure, seeing a guy out with his baby evokes quite an 'Awww Factor.' But it's multiplied infinitely when it's your own husband and your own baby.

While I was at book club last night, Spencer and Finn had a guys night. My chest tightened when I picked up the camera tonight and saw all the pictures Spencer had taken of their night together. They're too cute.

And of course bath time has been Spencer's since Finnegan's first days in the hospital. I know both boys enjoy their time together. It's so sweet to watch how excited both of them get about their nightly ritual.

I love both my boys.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

I love healthy baby appointments

I know. How sad is that. But today was Finn's four month healthy baby appointment. I love his doctor, Stephanie Bergstein, and was excited for her to see Finnegan. Given the problems we had early on getting Finn to gain weight (I know, how can a kid of mine and Spencer's have trouble GAINING weight?!), I was eager to know how his weight was coming along.

His stats:
Weight: 14.4 lbs (50th percentile)
Height: 25 3/4" (75th percentile)

Good stuff. Don't know where the average weight comes from, but Spencer and I are hoping the height is the best of both of us. Spencer is all body and short legs, I'm long legs and short body. I hope the boy can stay long and lean. I don't want him to struggle with weight the way his mom and dad have.

And starting today, we have more input in that. The big news from Dr. Bergstein is that today is the day to start solid foods. We got the go ahead to start cereal and in a month, to introduce veggies. Going along with the granola cloth diapers, I'm planning on making Finnegan's baby food. Unless I'm missing something, it's just steaming and pureeing fruits and vegetables. And my good friend Christy, a pediatrician, gave me a great baby food cookbook for Christmas that I'm excited to try out.

But his first meal included a sushi bib and lots of slurping sounds!I am most excited to start the cereal as an attempt to get the boy to sleep better. Though our bedtime routine is wonderful with Spencer giving a bath and my reading a book and then feeding Finnegan, the boy isn't sleeping through the night. He's up at 12:30 a.m. and 3:30 a.m. to eat. As much as we've tried "cry it out," I always give in and feed him. But Dr. Bergstein says its got to stop. So I need to buy some ear plugs.

Developmentally, outside of sleeping through the night, the milestone we're working towards is rolling over. The next appointment isn't until 6 months, but we've got lots to work on before then.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Finnegan's First Video

Daddy's excuse for editing his new camcorder. Not too sucky. At least the kid is cute.

Top Ten of 2008

I wish I had kept a better record of 2008. As Spencer references below, I bought a journal thinking it would record the months I was pregnant. That didn’t happen, so I thought I’d start after Finnegan was born. That didn’t happen either. But there are some highlights from the year that I want to remember.

1. Finnegan, of course. From the day he was born to our walks throughout the fall in Garfield Park to the waning days of December when he giggled out loud for the first time, he consumes my favorite memories.
2. Hiking into Machu Picchu. Peru was an amazing trip perpetuated by Spencer’s extreme gift giving. The hike into Machu Picchu was grueling at times. As we looked up at the last incline, our guide said if we were pure of mind, body, and spirit, the beauty of Machu Picchu would be revealed to us. It was cloudy.

3. Weddings. I was honored to be the matron of honor at my friend Christy and Jee’s October wedding. Not many thought I would make the trip and leave Finnegan, at just four weeks, with Spencer. But I wasn’t going to miss one of my oldest (as in longevity, not age) friends on her big day. And I was thrilled to read a poem in Sandhy a’s words to the crowd gathered as she married Ty. I even got a little choked up about it.
4. Pregnancy, specifically, announcing it. As much as Spencer and I had planned for having a baby, once I realized I was pregnant, I wondered what we had gotten ourselves into. The height of this was when I announced the pregnancy at euchre – and started crying. What a spaz.

5. Ultrasounds. From the first in early January to the last eight weeks before Finn’s arrival, getting a peek at what was going on was always exciting and emotional. Some tests had shown possible complications, so we checked in every couple of mo nths. But Finnegan knew everything was OK in there.
6. Learning to knit. This always looked so complicated when I’d see friends take a ball of yarn and make a sweater of it. But once I learned wool pants could be used as covers to the cloth diapers we planned on using, I had a mission. And one that’s worked out pretty well.
7. Being healthy. Early in the year I was training for the Mini Marathon. I ran all my miles but was disappointed to get a call from the doctor two days prior saying at five months along, I shouldn’t run anymore. So I walked the Mini. I don’t recommend it. It was way too long. But with running gone, I decided to take swimming lessons. And I played tennis until three weeks before Finnegan was born.

8. Meeting Jeff Saturday. He even signed a jersey “That’s why I’m a Center.” He didn’t realize it was a referenced to being slapped on the rear end by Peyton.

9. Election night. Sensing Barack Obama would win handily (but in Indiana?!), Spencer and I had a bottle of champagne on hand. But I was exhausted after finally getting Finn to bed, so I said I was going to do the same – before the race was called. Spencer convinced me to stay up, and I’m glad I did. The moment was so emotional and Obama’s speech inspirational.

10. The Indiana State Fair. Spencer and I went to see a taping of Prairie Home Companion two weeks before Finnegan was born. It was a beautiful night and the sunset was just gorgeous. However, it was the realization that it was the last time it would be just the two of us that made it so special.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

It's a Finnegan!

Most everybody reading this will know that Alisha and I met working for the state of Indiana under the late Governor Frank O'Bannon administration. We married in the waining days of 2000 and, after sowing many wild oats together we set out to be parents about the same time that we were celebrating our seventh wedding anniversary.

The seventh being the wool and/or copper 
anniversary ( I surprised Alisha with a trip to Peru so she could buy herself an alpaca sweater. Between the anniversary and the actual trip, Alisha found herself 
pregnant. So one could say the three of us took the trip together. 

2008 was largely consumed with baby preparations. Shopping, painting, ultrasounds and
 ultimately the selection of a name. We decided not to find out the gender of our 
child during the ultrasounds and check-ups so there was some added excitement that day. 

We settled on a boy name quickly, largely due to Alisha's belief that she would have no need for a boy name since she was certain she was carrying 
a girl. As the blessed day arrived, we had a myriad of girls names floating around and only Finnegan Dempsey Valentine for a boy. I'll put in another post sometime about our baby naming discussions. Suffice it to say we argued about what the rules would be for naming and that the book Freakonomics played an unexpected role in our decision.

Cut to the birth. Dateline September 3rd, 2008. We had arranged in advanced with the doctor that I would announce the gender to Alisha. After taking an extra moment to make sure I was correct (you don't want to mess that moment up) I looked down at my lovely bride and announced, "It's a Finnegan!" She expressed no disappointment.

I was pretty stoked about it. Finnegan was immediately holding up his head and making himself heard, as all Valentine men do. 

The last four months have been super busy and happy. As we we shopping in preparation for Finn's arrival, we bought our selves some blank books to journal with thoughts to share with Finn. There is stuff you just oughta write down for your kids now, while you think of it. Alisha and I both expect that these books will eventually fill with wisdom for our boy, but as 2008 bids us goodbye and our books are short on wisdom for the boy, we looked to the Internet. So, be forewarned. While I expect a lot of this will blog will be about Finn's upbringing for friends and (mostly) family to keep abreast and see picture, I hope you will indulge us as we write the occasional threads to Finn. Feel free to peek in on those. Anything too intimate, we will save for the journal. 

I suspect Alisha will also share some parenting tips, most likely beginning with her advocacy of clothe diapers, from time to time. Anyway, or as we say in Indiana, anyways, that's about the long and short of why this blog will exist. Feel free to share your thoughts. 

Valentines Enter the Blogosphere

It is official. The Valentine's have entered the blogosphere. Between grandparents and friends wanting to know and see more about our boy Finnegan and our family activities and adventures, it just seemed the easiest way to stay in touch and keep up to date. 

If you are here because you were e-mailed, we hope to stay timely and interesting. If you are here because you found us threw the Internet. Be kind.