Thursday, January 29, 2009

A Good Big Brother

Suni and I were more than a little concerned about how Waylon would receive Calvin.  Our fear was that his emotional response would either be callous indifference or outright hostility.  Waylon is generally well-behaved, but, like all children, he can be quite jealous.  Thus, our concern.  Well, for the first time in his twenty-two months of life, Waylon’s parents sold him short. 

Waylon has been so sweet to Calvin.  He actually shows Cal genuine love, to the point where it has been moving a time or two.  Granted, there is plenty of time for jealousy to develop.  But, for now, we couldn’t be prouder of our little man.  In  the future, I hope Suni and I make a conscious effort to trust Waylon’s good nature.  I think there is some truth in the adage that “children behave like you expect them to.” 

The only interesting post-Calvin development is demonstrated in this picture.  Waylon has never put things in his mouth that don’t belong.  I know you don’t believe it, but even when he was an infant, he just didn’t explore with his mouth the way most babies do.  Well, today, he has put everything he can find in his mouth, including his colored Sesame Street Fizzy Bath Colors.  This picture shows the result of that experiment.  From  the look on Waylon’s face, the red one must not have tasted very good!  We both laughed, and he rinsed his mouth out.  I hope those things aren’t toxic.

Come to think of it, I think I will tell people this is Waylon’s Ozzy Osbourne impression.  It looks like he just bit the head off a bat.  The “blood splatter” on the bathtub wall adds some authenticity.  (Did anyone know Ozzy actually pulled that stunt in Des Moines?)   


A few more photos

Here are a few more of the kids today. 

swaddled kiss

1-29-09_2 IMG_1764

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

We’re home!

We got home from the hospital today around 11:00.  Cal and Suni are both doing great.  Cal has a big appetite.  He’s doing well with feeding and we are supplementing with a syringe.

Several people have asked about Suni’s hernia.  It was a non-factor during the birth, and Dr. Metalka, Suni’s obstetrician said that surgical repair may not even be necessary. 

Here are some pictures taken while we were still at the hospital.

cal_2_web cal_web

Family_web suni_and_cal_web

Here are some pictures I took after we got home today while my sister was holding Cal. 

sissy_cal)web sissy_cal_2_web

I can’t stop taking pictures, so there will be more. 

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

New Arrival

Calvin is here, and I was off by a mile on the ETA. I had barely posted my last blog entry when Dr. Metelka came in and talked to us for about thirty minutes, all the while monitoring Suni’s contractions. The nurse came in at 12:12, and Dr. Metelka announced, “She’s full and at plus two station. Let’s deliver this baby. If I had quit talking to them, he would have been born on his due date.” The nurse thought he was joking. So did we. He wasn’t.

The room came alive with activity and people materialized out of nowhere. Dr. Metelka left the room to scrub in, I presume, and the nurses told Suni to push. After two pushes, Dr. Metelka came back in and told Suni to stop pushing. It was 12:16. Two minutes later, Dr. Metelka told Suni to start pushing again. At 12:20, Calvin was delivered. I cut the cord at 12:21. All in all, the speed with which this baby was delivered was stunning!

It has really been a great experience. The nurse with us all night, Renee, a Cleveland transplant, has been wonderful. Suni is doing wonderfully. Despite having to have a total of six stitches, Suni is reporting pain that is “not bad enough to take a Tylenol or anything.”

At birth, Calvin weighed 7 lbs. 9.5 oz. He is 19 inches long. He has a pretty full head of dark hair. Here is a picture I just took with my phone. 


Monday, January 26, 2009

Calvin is almost here!

Well, this is too rich.  Blount Memorial Hospital has a strong wireless signal here in the Family Birthing Center (FBC), so I am blogging from Suni’s birth suite. 

At about 6:00, as Suni, Waylon, and I were sitting down for dinner, Suni said, “I think I’m starting to have labor pains.” 

“Okay,” I said, “I’m going to call my mom.”  That is a man’s reaction to anything even slightly traumatic… or at least this man’s.  So I did just that, at which point the wife said, “Let’s go to Target and get Waylon some toys.”

Now, I found that to be an odd response to labor pains, but who I am to argue with a woman in labor?  So, my mom picked up Waylon, and off we went to Target.  There we saw my Aunt Judy and Uncle Ronnie, bought Waylon some toys, and went home to watch House.  The House intro has not yet begun when Suni emerged from the bathroom and said “We need to go to the hospital.”

Ten minutes later we walked into the FBC.  We were in triage less than forty-five minutes, then they moved Suni in a room.  I ran home to get the camera, and returned to discover that there were some developments.  It is now 11:20, and the epidural is starting to kick in.  Much to Suni’s chagrin, she got no Stadol this go ‘round. 

My ETA for Calvin Ford Stinson is 06:15.  I’ll keep you posted.  I wanted to photoblog this, but Suni said I could either do that or stay married.  I guess there will be no pictures. 

Is today the day?

We go in to Women’s Care Group here in Maryville this morning at 9:00 for Suni’s regular 40-week checkup.  Today is the due date.  We’ll see what they say, but I am thinking they will want to induce tomorrow or Wednesday.

My pal Nick has been kind enough to take my Memphis trip for me on Wednesday, clearing the way for me to stay home this week.

We just sent Waylon off to daycare, but we have to pick him up and take him to the ENT for his tubes follow-up.  We’ll keep you posted on the developments (or lack thereof) of the day.  

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Waylon at 22 Months

Here are a few recent pictures of our little man.  Here he is coloring with his markers, helping me take ashes out of the fireplace, posing having completed that task, and running under the parachute at “’nastics.”    


Waylon’s at a fun age.  He seems to be a pretty bright little guy.  He can count to ten and knows many of his letters and all his colors.  He has long known all the Backyardigan and Sesame Street characters by name and color.  He knows almost all shapes, and I did satisfy myself last night that he can differentiate between a pentagon and an octagon.  (He is still having some trouble with the hexagon).  My mom is amazed at his ability to work puzzles.  Of course, this probably has no correlation to anything much, but it sure is entertaining!

W is doing pretty well with his manners, as well.  “Please” is pretty reliable, grover_mannersand “thanks” is coming along.  He has started routinely saying “excuse me” and surprised me a little when he genuinely apologized to me last night when he accidentally hit me in the head with a block.  Suni and Grover must be doing a heck of a job with that subject.  It’s sure nice to have a polite young’un around the house.       

Waylon assigned Calvin a chair at the dinner table last night, indicating to us that he does “get it” on some level.  Counter-evidence of that, however, is the fact that he continues to insist that, while Mama has Calvin in her belly, Waylon has “Carl” in his belly. 

Come on out!  Despite all the helpful advice from Tim Whitehead (Thanks, buddy!), still no baby.

Where’s the dough?  As my cousin Adam pointed out yesterday, there is still no cash dropping from the sky here in East Tennessee following yesterday’s inauguration of Mr. Obama, or “BHO,” as I believe Adam dubbed our 44th president.  

Thursday, January 15, 2009

In like a lion, and other things...

Well, our baby could come at any time, but I sure hope it isn’t tonight. I have to stay in Nashville tonight. I’ll have to keep my fingers crossed. In between appointments I thought I’d write a quick post of some things that were on my mind.
  • We've decided on a name. The poll results notwithstanding, our baby will be called Calvin Ford Stinson. We will probably call him "Cal." He will be named after my dad's dad. Ford is Suni's mom's maiden name and the Ford family boasts some of the best people I've ever met. We're delighted with the name.

  • I am really impressed with Florida State football player Myron Rolle’s decision to put the NFL on hold for the Rhodes Scholarship. Smart move. This guy graduated with a pre-med degree in 2 ½ years?! Are you kidding me?

  • Everyone’s bitching about the cold here. Please. Iowa is like Antarctica right now. Wind chills of -51 degrees. This morning, Cedar Rapids was literally colder than the North and South Poles. I understand global warming isn’t as simple as its name suggests and as some people try to make it… but, seriously, this doesn’t exactly jibe with the Al Gore scenarios. Of course, Al Gore probably invented weather, so he knows.

  • I’ve been listening to the audiobook The Shack, the Christian allegory that has seemingly been everywhere. I’m intrigued by the clamor in certain Christian circles about this book. I have definitely taken something away from it. It is pretty well written, and there is significant spiritual value in reading (or listening to) it. Maybe it’s my own aversion to spiritual philosophy, but it seems to overly simplify some pretty heady topics. That is my only real criticism. Through hefty dialogue with the anthropomorphic trinity, the main character will arrive at some conclusion – the “Oh, I’ve got it moment,” followed by his restatement of whatever mind-blowing lesson the trinity was trying to teach him. And I’m like “Wait a minute! How the hell did you get that out of the conversation you just had?” (I don’t mean to be irreverent, but this is just how I think and talk). So I replay the CD track, but I’m just as mystified as the first time I hear d it. I’m earnest when I say that my own denseness is probably to blame here. Anyway, if anyone has read that book, I’d love to chat about it when I’m finished. As for the hullabaloo over it, those nutjobs are what turn so many of us away from organized religion. Look up the definition of ‘allegory,’ people. This author was not trying to supplant the Bible with this work of fiction. Chuck Colson, I’ve admired you, but lighten up.

  • After ignorantly thinking Facebook was a ridiculous waste of time and something only teenagers do, I have been proven half wrong. There are old people on there, too. I have reconnected with some good friends I haven’t seen in a while. And it’s free.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Yet another reason to like the Indianapolis Colts.  Like Peyton Manning, Bob Sanders, and Dallas Clark aren’t enough. 

Sunday, January 11, 2009

This is what I was afraid of

If Charles Krauthammer is right, last  November’s election result is exactly what I feared.

He simply wants quiet on his eastern and western fronts so that he can proceed with what he really cares about -- his domestic agenda.

Don't be fooled by Bob Gates staying on. Obama didn't get elected to manage Afghanistan. He intends to transform America. And he has the money, the mandate and the moxie to go for it.

If this is how he’s thinking, he better wake up.  Like I said, I voted on foreign affairs.  It won’t matter that the economy sucks if we’re all having to learn to speak Russian, or Chinese, or… you get the idea.

Ready for takeoff

Waylon and Charley on the airplane.
Taken tonight, January 11, 2009
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Suni took this picture of Waylon and me back in the fall. The three of us took a drive on back roads up to the Foothills Parkway. We had gotten out to stretch our legs and look over Maryville from an overlook on the Parkway.
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Friday, January 9, 2009

Good Take on Alexander

I like this take from Southern Beale, a Nashville blogger on our state’s senior senator. 

I’ve long believed that Lamar Alexander is one of those people who is riding a “moderate” image that is completely undeserved. He talks the talk but when push comes to shove he doesn’t walk the walk.

She is taking him to task on energy in the context of the Kingston spill, which, quite frankly, I am too far behind on to make any useful commentary.  You may remember my post about why I wasn’t voting for him.  Regardless of whether an informed version of me would agree with her on the ash spill, I think her summation is right on point.

Lamar Alexander hit his popularity peak with me when I was about nine years old.  I won some division of the Young Tennessee Writers’ Contest and was invited to a luncheon with the governor.  I was fit to be tied, as I knew all about how he had walked clear across our great state when he was running for governor.  I couldn’t wait to ask him a bunch of inane questions about his walk.  On the morning of the big day, I woke up not feeling so good.  For good reason… I had chicken pox.  I didn’t get to meet Governor Alexander that day.  It seemed tragic at the time.  Now, I’m not sure I missed anything. 

Wednesday, January 7, 2009


Please pray for Taylor Whitehead, the baby niece of our friends Tim and Jaime Whitehead. Taylor and her family need your prayers and well wishes. you can track Taylor’s progress on the blog Tim has created for that purpose. I will continue to keep this post on top until Taylor is home. Please see below for newer actual entries.

Update: According to Tim and Jaime’s last post, there are some positive signs. Please continue with your thoughts and prayers.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Successful Surgery

Waylon’s surgery went well, and he has been sleeping since early afternoon. I was not able to make it to the hospital, so Suni continued the heavy lifting she has been doing for some time now. As is usually the case where a toddler and anesthesia are combined, there is an amusing story. Let’s hope Suni tells it here.

In the meantime, Waylon and I want to thank Big Mama for all she does, but especially for what she has done the last couple of weeks. I worked like a dog the last part of December and have been completely out of commission for the last week. I have been a pretty absentee father. Suni has been her usual amazing self in taking care of Team Stinson, and that should not go unheralded. Thanks, Big Mama!!

Update: To the extent my post and Suni's comment constitute the ever dill-received public display of affection (PDA), we wish to apologize!!

Monday, January 5, 2009

We love the ENT doctor...

We went to see Dr. Garman, our favorite ENT doc today.  It was determined that Waylon would need tubes re-inserted in his ears.  When scheduling his surgery around the birth of the new baby and my work schedule became difficult, Dr. Garman stepped in and said, "Well, we could do it tomorrow!"  This must have been news to the staffperson trying to schedule the surgery because she gave him a "what in the hell are you talking about" look.  But, Dr. Garman was not deterred, and Waylon has his surgery tomorrow.

I have finally experienced the pain and agony everyone told me would come with my tonsillectomy.  After nearly five full days of doing well, I decided to ask Dr. Garman today if he could give me a less potent painkiller and see if I could make it.  I could not.  Dr. Garman gave me Percocet, but it hardly does anything.  As soon as my next does comes up at 9:00 tonight, I am switching back.  The breakthrough pain let me know what these narcotics are masking, and it ain't pretty.  I pity the more people that are left to fend for themselves on Percocet from the get-go.   

Dr. Garman did reiterate today how badly I needed my tonsils out.  His exact words: "When I just grasped them to prepare for the surgery, puss squirted everywhere.  It was really gross."  Uh, yeah, truly. 

Iowa's brain drain, via Sullivan & Ward's Iowa Law Blog.
Things lost in the flood: a poignant reminder that, despite its utility, money is just not that important.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Role for Richardson?

President-Elect Obama indicated he would make New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson his Secretary of Commerce.  Richardson, however, has withdrawn his name from consideration.  Richardson is one of my favorites of all the Clintonites.  I had hoped he would get the nod as the Democratic presidential nominee.  As one-time New Mexicans, Suni and I appreciate the work that needs to be done there, and I think Richardson will continue to serve that state well.  There is plenty of work to be done.  There is an underlying hint of scandal here, though. 

"I felt that duty particularly because America is facing such extraordinary economic challenges. The Department of Commerce must play an important role in solving them by helping to grow the new jobs and businesses America so badly needs. It is also because of that sense of urgency about the work of the Commerce Department that I have asked the President-elect not to move forward with my nomination at this time. I do so with great sorrow. But a pending investigation of a company that has done business with New Mexico state government promises to extend for several weeks or, perhaps, even months," the governor said.

I'm not sure how that will all play out, but I hope nothing comes of it.  Regardless, Commerce will be an important post in the Obama administration.  In the November 19, 2008, edition, the New Republic staff put together an "O-List," comprised of the thirty names of folks people most likely to "matter most" in Obama's Washington.  The list is available online here.  No one on that list jumps out at me at this point. 

Update: Reynolds says there is more to the Richardson scandal than he thought.  Hmm...

I like this take on Richardson:

I’ve been a fan of Richardson because he has shown himself to be a good representative and honest broker on the world stage for the United States.  He’s become an expert on foreign policy and as governor has had a decent record.  I hate to see that he’s just another singular example of a well-meaning, seemingly honest, intelligent Democrat distracted by the shine of that Wall Street gold.

Seems to be the case. 

Update: Of course, the Obama team says Richardson wasn't forthright, but the NY Times pointed out that the investigation has been going on since August. It will be interesting to see who else wasn't forthright with the transition team and just how many end up having to withdraw their names from appointments. 

Michelle Malkin says "Looks like Barack Obama’s vetters haven’t gotten any better since the campaign."

AP Writer Ben Feller writes that Richardson's public life "one of rumpled imperfection but plenty of opportunity.  Reminds me of someone else. 

Timeline by AP via Denver Post.

Um, yeah... because Norm Coleman is the creepy guy in the Minnesota senate race. The fact that Al Franken could be elected to... well, anything... is a sad commentary on the state of politics in the Land of a Thousand Lakes.

Shockingly, the Huffington Post is advising Coleman to concede the race.
Talk about a dumb stunt. This poor kid will have some embarrassing class reunions.
Tim, Brandon: You guys have an alibi?

No Zzzs

Well, another sleepless night for Suni and me. It isn’t so much the pain as the intense itching from the hydromorphone. It makes me scratch constantly, and poor Suni cannot get any sleep. We take Waylon in to see Dr. Garman on Monday. I will see if he will switch up my meds. Hopefully I won’t need painkillers a whole lot longer. Suni needs some sleep!

Saturday, January 3, 2009

For you college football fans, you may have noticed that Tennessee is putting together one hell of an impressive football staff. But this may be the biggest story yet in terms of actual impact. Rodney Garner is one of the best in the business, and it was a big blow to Tennessee when he left for Georgia years ago. If this happens, it could be the biggest coup of all.

Update: You think football's serious in the South. One blogger has been tracking the UT plane and predicting Garner's fate based on who was and wasn't on the plane at a given time. Crazy!

Friday, January 2, 2009

He's under-appreciated in the Hawkeye State, but I agree completely. Give Kirk Ferentz every reason in the world to stay in Iowa City. The guy does amazing things with a fraction of the talent that many of his colleagues have at their disposal.
Some government intervention I condone.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Thinking of an old friend in a new year

One of mine and Suni’s favorite people on this earth is Mary Berdo. Suni and I have each been Mary’s roommate, albeit at different times. She is responsible for Suni and me getting together back in 2000. I really got to know Mary in the summer of 2000, when I was living with Travis Carlson and her in Iowa City, broke and waiting to get into law school. The next fall, when Mary was playing basketball at Iowa, Suni and I went to watch her play twice on the east coast – at Mt. St. Mary’s and at George Washington in D.C. The girl had better long distance range than AT&T. I got to know my future wife during travels in and around Washington, Gettysburg, and Eastern Shore of Maryland. Those are fond memories.

Berdo is one of those rare individuals that attract people effortlessly through the sheer magnitude of her personality. I don’t even remember when I first met her because I feel as though I have known her forever. And I’m sure everyone else who knows her feels the same way.

Mary never talks about herself, which is why it wasn’t surprising that I learned more about her background from this New York Times piece about her family than I ever learned from talking to her. The article was written and published around the time I met Mary, I believe, but she never mentioned that one of the most famous newspapers in the world was doing a piece on her Iowa farming family. I stumbled upon this story this morning while doing some research.  I’ve never met her family, but I sure would like to.

Mary, if you read this, we miss you. 

Happy New Year and Good News!

Happy New Year, everyone! We all had so much to be thankful for in 2008! On the last day of the year, Suni and I learned that the baby flipped on its own, meaning a cephalic version and/or C-section is probably going to be unnecessary! What a great way to end the year! We hope everyone had a great night. Here’s to a wonderful ’09!

We look forward to watching the Hawks play today. 

OK, so it's not Julia Roberts that is coming here? Dammit!