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    1 day, 1 month, 2 months...

    Here's the story.... Sarah is out of town and she's got the camera with her. So, I can't tag and upload the pictures of Tyler at the pumpkin patch. Since I've got no photos to back it up, I can't blog about it.

    Here's more of the story... Sarah is out of town and she's got the CD that has some of the most awesome pictures of Tyler, EVER. So, I can't tag and upload them. So I can't blog about that either.

    Here's even more of the story... I've been waiting to post some photos. These are the photos that we got taken of Tyler at the studio for his "One day old", "One month old", and "Two months old" birthdays. I've been waiting for Sarah to mail them out to family before unleashing them upon the world, but I'm tired of waiting for it to happen, so I'm going to post an overload of cuteness.

    Cuteness attack, BEGIN!!!

    One Day Old:

    One Month Old:

    Two Months Old: This first picture is the picture we entered for the Cutest Baby Contest, that he SOMEHOW lost

    Tyler's Three-Month-Old pictures are already taken. They just haven't been picked up yet. That's happening today when he goes in for his Four Months Old pictures. I'll post them as I get 'em, folks.

    Cuteness Attack is complete.... for now...


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    Tyler held onto his own bottle
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    Tyler had his 4 month wellness checkup today. The purpose was to weigh him, measure him, and answer any questions that we had. Unfortunately, I had a pretty full day today and couldn’t make it. Instead, Sarah had to call me and update me on how it went when it was over with.

    As of today, Tyler weighs 20 pounds and 10 ounces, and measures at 27.5 inches tall... or roughly the size of a 9-month old. Our family doctor actually asked Sarah how tall I was. Sarah told her that I’m 5 foot 10 (I’m 5 foot 11.5, for the record). I’m also a meager 165 pounds. This little son of mine is already 1/8 my weight, and 38% of my height. The doc simply said that we must have super genes.

    Tyler's Height Tracker

    Tyler's Weight Tracker

    This really ticked me off. I’ve spent most of my childhood and – so far – ALL of my adulthood believing that it was my destiny to become a super-hero. I’m 30 years old. With every day that passes, I am increasingly faced with the possibility that it simply isn’t going to happen. I’ve had days that I believed “The Matrix” was a movie about what I would become one day. Am I now supposed to believe that those movies were nothing more than a fictional story? I just don’t know if I can accept that. I’ve been practicing my “I know kung-fu” and “whoa” lines so that I’d get them right when the time came for me to spar with my mentor and jump from one rooftop to another, respectively.

    Now I have to come to terms with the fact that I may not be destined to become a superhero and that my son may have gotten the gift that was meant for ME! It’s not fair. I never thought I’d be put in a position where I would have to live vicariously through my son. I’m going to have to throw him in front of a train so that I can watch HIM not get hurt. I'll have to watch a bad guy shoot Tyler in the eyeball on a building rooftop to witness the bullet crumple and fall away from HIS stronger-than-steel retina. It should have been me. I have to admit, though, that it would be super cool to be able to say, “Tyler, fly me to Best Buy. I don’t feel like driving there today because I’m in a hurry.” Or “Tyler, use your x-ray vision and tell me how long the line is at Applebee’s.” Still, it wouldn’t be as awesome as doing those things myself, instead of having to use Tyler as my own personal aircraft.

    How am I, as a seemingly normal person, supposed to raise a superhero? There’s a whole new level of “right and wrong” that I have to teach him. Anger management will also need to be addressed. I certainly don’t want Tyler to destroy an entire supermarket just because Sarah won’t buy him a squirtgun. And how do you discipline a child who could crush you with his bare hands? He could probably make me go insane just by thinking it.

    My only solution, at this point, is to strap him to a table in my yet-to-be-built dungeon until I can fully understand his powers. I’m going to need to invest in some beakers, bubbly green liquids, and some swirly glass tubes. I’ll extract his DNA sequence using a highly scientific method of pricking his finger with a needle and putting a drop of blood on one of those glass slide things that scientists put under a microscope. I’ll cure his pain by the other highly scientific method of kissing the boo-boo and applying a Bob the Builder band-aid to the DNA extraction site. Then, using plans downloaded off the internet, I’ll construct a gamma-ray burst gun and a DNA re-sequencer to enhance the powers and introduce them to my genetic code.

    I’m sure there’s something morally wrong with making one’s own son the human equivalent of a lab rat. But, I promise to offset that evilness by capturing at least 4 bank robbers, and 2 carjackers. For good measure, I’ll even save a cat from a tree and return Mr. Fluffles to the little old lady that accidentally let him out of the house.

    Destiny…. here I come!!!

    Semi-Wordless Thursday??

    Ok, ok, ok... I totally missed "Wordless Wednesday" yesterday. Forgive me? So, how about I have a semi-wordless Thursday? It doesn't have the same ring to it, but here's what I propose. Instead of having a photo with no words... how about I use this as an excuse to post 3 videos???

    Storytime with Tyler

    Talking with Tyler

    Roly Poly, Inch Worm

    D A ... D D Y needs C O ... F F E E

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    Tyler and his M-O-M-M-Y
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    I've mentioned previously that I enjoy reading children's stories. This fondness does not carry over to children's music though. I'd much rather listen to The Doors talk to me about strange people, The Rolling Stones singing about painting things black, or Regina Spektor eating tangerines. I don't particularly care about the Farmer in the Dell, what the Wheels on the Bus do, or what a twinkling little star is. Turns out, and this is news to me, that even though I don't like children's music, I still have to listen to it.

    99% of the music I listen to is either through my iPod, or through my computer. I don't listen to the radio, or to CD's. As a result, I've had to - very reluctantly - clear some space on my iPod for a "Tyler" playlist. I currently have 139 songs in there. Whenever we go out in the car, I can fire up the TP (Tyler Playlist) and listen to countless songs about farms, monkeys, apples, or the letter "g".

    For the most part, I am perfectly fine with having a TP on my iPod. I've resolved myself to the fact that it needs to be there. But, there are some unwanted embarrassing situations created with having a TP on my iPod. Take, for example, the day I was in my garage. I was cleaning out one of our cars and had the iPod blaring through the stereo that I keep in the garage. I'm pretty sure I had the volume dial set to 11. I walked out of the garage towards our trash can. The neighbors were outside doing some gardening, but both of them were looking at me with a very strange expression on their faces. I waved politely, but found myself thinking, "What the heck are you looking at?". It was a good 10 or 15 seconds later that I realized that "Apples and Bananas" was testing the decibel limit of the cheap 5 inch speakers. It was loud, and you could clearly hear the words.
    I like to ote, ote, ote
    Opples and banonos
    I like to ote, ote, ote
    Opples and banonos

    I like to ute, ute, ute
    Upples and banunus
    I like to ute, ute, ute
    Upples and banunus

    If you're a parent, I'm sure you know the song. When you are a man... alone... in your garage, there's no way to explain yourself out of that situation. Instead, I scurried back into the garage, lowered the volume to barely a whisper and clicked "Next".

    Or how about the time that I was working on a hospital bed at one of my accounts? At the time, I thought I was alone in the room. I found myself humming Dinosaur Round. Then, completely without realizing that I'm doing it, I start SINGING it.
    How can I feed this dinosaur,
    Who eats my lunch and asks for more?
    More .... More .... More .... More
    Never own a dinosaur
    Imagine my mortified shock and surprise when I stand up and see two nurses standing side-by-side in the doorway. One was slack jawed, the other was biting down, hard, on her lips. I would rather have been caught with my pants down and an apple pie in my hands. My frozen horror was broken just long enough for me to say, "Oh God".

    Nurse 1: "Wow." *walks away*
    Nurse 2: "Don't stop for us. Keep going." *begins laughing loudly*

    I had a flash of thought and almost told the nurse that was still standing there that I was singing the intro to a new song by Linkin Park and that it was about to get very dark and graphic. But I knew that my previous "Oh God" would render me incapable of being able to really sell it. Instead, I said what comes naturally to me, "I'm such an idiot."

    Or - because, why shouldn't we have 3 examples? - I could tell you about the the time I told a nurse at another hospital that I was finished and they could start using their stretcher again.

    "You must be a dad.", she said.

    I inhaled through my nose, wondering if I smelled like spit-up breastmilk. I couldn't smell anything, but I'm pretty sure that my sense of smell has been conditioned to that scent. Tyler's sleeping when I leave for work in the mornings, so there's a really short list of things for me to contemplate.

    "Yeah, how couldya tell?", I inquired.

    "I'm pretty sure I heard you whistling 'Snuggle Puppy' a few minutes ago."

    I couldn't remember whistling that song, but those melodies are so simple that they burrow deep into your head. I've woken up on plenty-o morning with one of those songs already playing in my head.

    Self-deprecatingly, I said, "I'm sure I was."

    I've found a few songs that I really enjoy, which is a testament to my simple mindedness. Every children's album should be required to have one song, at a minimum, that appeals to adults. That will give me something to look forward to as I'm singing-along to Tyler about Five Little Ducks going out one day, over the hills and far away, and mother duck saying "Quack quack quack quack", and only 4 little ducks coming back.

    One of those rare songs that I find myself enjoying is "The Coffee Song" by Ralph's World.
    M O ... M M Y needs C O ... F F E E
    D A ... D D Y needs C O ... F F E E
    M O ... M M Y needs C O ... F F E E
    D A ... D D Y needs C O ... F F E E

    I love my kid
    I love my kid
    Gosh ... I love my kid
    But I need
    What I need
    And I need a lot of what I need and that's

    M O ... M M Y needs C O ... F F E E
    D A ... D D Y needs C O ... F F E E

    I need a latte
    A cappucino
    And tonight I think I'll have a little vino

    M O ... M M Y needs C O ... F F E E
    D A ... D D Y needs C O ... F F E E
    M O ... M M Y needs C O ... F F E E
    D A ... D D Y needs C O ... F F E E
    It's simple, to the point, and oh so true.

    And the winner is...

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    I had absolutely NOTHING to do with the decision of entering Tyler into a beauty pageant. 97% of all males that see a therapist can have 100% of their problems linked back to them having "Mommy Issues", according to a survey that I made up just now. When Tyler comes to us when he's 32 and tells us he's going to a psychiatrist, I'm going to look at Sarah and say, "The beauty pageant. You did this to him."

    Ok, maybe I'm exaggerating a little bit. We live in a small town called Auburn, in the state of infinite cornfields (Indiana). Our city is all of 7 square miles in size, with a population of 12,000. For at least the last 2 years, our city has hosted the DeKalb County Free Fall Fair (we've lived here for 2 years). The fair is setup on our downtown square, which is about a half mile from our house (which is nice because we walk there and don't need to worry about parking).

    I don't know if they had this last year, but this year there was a "DeKalb County's Cutest Baby" contest put on by the local woman's care clinic. Sarah was beside herself with excitement and could not wait to enter Tyler. I said something along the lines of "no" to Sarah about it, and she said something along the lines of "yes" about it. Clearly, I was outnumbered.

    So, Sarah explains the contest to me. You submit a photo of your baby. At the fair will be a booth with all the photos of the contestants on a board. Next to the photo will be a number. Each number will have their own little container that people put money into. Every penny counted as 1 vote. Then Sarah starts talking about the prizes. I have no interest in exploiting my child, nor of parading him around DeKalb county, as a constant reminder to the other parents of how ugly their babies are. I'm not that shallow. But...

    "Wait, did you say prizes? I'm listening." I said.

    First place gets you a $125 giftcard to WalMart. I didn't listen to the rest of the prizes because - let's be honest - if Tyler is in a cutest baby contest, he will EASILY win. It'd be like putting Jessica Alba against Amy Winehouse*. No contest. But that didn't stop me from saying to Sarah, "So, technically, we could put $120 in for Tyler and still pull a profit."

    Who would you vote for?

    Although that would be true, there's no way I would have done that. Firstly, it's not necessary. Tyler IS the cutest baby in DeKalb county, and surely people would see that and vote for him. Secondly, it's not sportsmanlike, and the wonderful residents of our fine town wouldn't resort to dirty tricks like that. Sarah and I decided that we would put in $5 worth of votes for Tyler.

    Fair week finally rolls up and we walk down there as a family. I am secretly very eager to get to the contest booth to vote, but I maintain my composure. We took our time walking around, getting a corndog, and checking out the rest of the booths. Finally, we get to the contest booth. Tyler is listed as contestant number 8 out of roughly 52. I'm telling you, Tyler was absolutely the cutest baby on the board. I'm not just saying it because I'm his dad, either. There were a couple photos that made me think to myself, "the parents MUST be joking.". Maybe I am shallow afterall. But what really infuriated me was seeing at least 3 toddlers on the board. You don't see 23 year old women in the Miss Teen USA pageant. So, there shouldn't be 3 year old KIDS in a BABY contest. Ok, fine, I'm shallow, da**it! Are you happy now? Guilty as charged. Whatever, let's just vote, go to the 4-H area, and look at pigs, horses, and quilts. But there was a problem.

    There wasn't anybody at the booth, and there was nowhere to put our money to vote for Tyler. I had a moment where I was tempted to tear down the photos of the toddlers, but I don't think it would have gone unnoticed.

    We ended up going back the next day. This time, there was someone there, so we walked up. Like an idiot, I made eye contact with a little old lady at the booth directly across from the contest booth. She was holding something out for me. It looked like a sticker, and I thought of how cute it would be to put a sticker on Tyler. When I grabbed it, I saw that it was a tiny booklet. Yup... Hook, line, and sinker...

    Little old lady: "Are you sure that you're going to go to heaven?"
    Me: *oh crap* "Yes I am."
    LOL: "How do you know?"
    Me: "I just do."
    LOL: "Do you think that's enough?"
    Me: "What, believing? Yes I do."

    At this point, I tried handing the booklet back to her.

    LOL: "I think maybe you should keep that book and read it."
    Me: "No thank you. I'll get along fine without it."
    LOL: "Well let me ask you this. How do you know if I'll go to heaven."

    I won't lie to you. I actually found myself thinking, "lady, I'm surprised that day hasn't come yet."

    Me: *still holding the booklet out* "I would never presume to know whether you'll go to heaven or not."
    LOL: "Well, I don't think you'll go to heaven with that attitude."
    Me: "Have a nice day."

    I placed the booklet in her hand and walked to join Sarah.

    I am a huge proponent of "respecting your elders". I was extremely polite, and have no idea what she didn't like about my attitude. But she was pushing the limits of my politeness. And where in the Christian belief does it say that it's ok to judge other people? Little old witch. And Sarah's not dumb. She knew better to walk over there. She saw the trap a mile away, and let me jump right in the lion's den. I would have done the same to her. A match made it heaven, her and I.

    Back at the contest booth, we deposited our $5. Sarah glanced in some of the other containers and saw that there was some competition. She immediately pulls out her change purse and starts DUMPING it all in there, except for some random German coin that she had. I'm freaking out trying to cram my Visa in there. Obviously, these other families were trying to BUY the win for their son/daughter/grandson/granddaughter, those dirty little cheaters. I checked the newspaper every friggin day from then on, waiting for the results. I checked the mail, looking for my WalMart giftcard. What was taking so long? Then, one day, the newspaper has the results for the DeKalb County's Cutest Dog contest. WTF!?!? It was over 2 weeks after that when I saw the results in the paper. Where the heck was Tyler's photo? There must have been some type of mistake. As a matter of fact, Tyler didn't place at all. The vote was rigged. I'm sure of it. DANG! Why didn't Sarah put that damn German coin in there!? To add insult to mortal wound injury, the first place winner wasn't even a baby! That kid was AT LEAST 2 years old! Ugh.

    * Don't get me wrong. I think Amy Winehouse has (had) a fantastic voice/album, but this purely about looks.

    Give me back my milestones

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    It's been awhile since I've watched Fright Night, or read 'Salem's Lot, but I remember that if a vampire is invited into your home, they can come and go as they please. I also remember, in 'Salem's Lot, that you can revoke an invitation.

    Grandpa Bouse (Pa-pa, to little Tyler), I revoke your invitation into my house. Be gone with thee.

    Sarah's dad, Pa-pa, had been storing a 1950-something Spitfire in our garage for a few weeks. He was able to sell it on ebay or craigslist, or some other online venue, and had a carrier coming in a few days to pick it up. He came by on Sunday to get it ready. Before he arrived, I charged the battery and started it up for a few minutes, and repositioned it in the garage so it would be easier to get to. Because I'm a nice guy.

    Since I was already in the garage, and it was shaping up to be a very pleasant day, I vacuumed up the spiders and their webs with my new (cheap) shop-vac, and started cleaning the place up a bit. Just as I was getting ready to cut some 2x4's up so I could make a base to get our freezer off the ground - in case water were to collect in the garage - Pa-pa showed up in his 1969 Fiat Spider (top down, of course). So, I decided to forego the base building for the moment.

    As we were talking in the garage about the car, the selling of it, and general garage talk, Sarah came out of the house, holding Tyler, to say her hello's. The last time Pa-pa was down, Tyler was being a grumpy-gus, and started bawling whenever Pa-pa held him. It's very discouraging when the cutest baby in DeKalb county (the vote was tampered with, more on that later), whom you love very dearly, wants nothing to do with you. Sarah and I can both relate to the rejection, as it's happened to us too. On Sunday, Tyler was in a good mood, and this pleased Pa-pa very much.

    This brings me to the reason Pa-pa's invitation to our house is being revoked. He started doing the cute gitchy-gitchy-goo crap that all baby's love, and Tyler had the most adorable, gummy grin ever. That's perfectly fine with me. I've seen that smile a thousand times. A couple seconds later, though, Tyler started cracking up. What blasphemy is this?!

    I've made Tyler laugh before, loads of times. So has Sarah. But he was cracking up this time. I usually get a "AHHH Ah AhHH" laugh. I'm not sure what Sarah gets from him. I don't think I want to know. She's with him all day, so I'm sure she can make him laugh pretty heartily. But Pa-pa sees him less than me and finds the ability to extract full on laughter, while I can only elicit giggling? Luckily for everyone involved, I don't own a chainsaw. As a matter of fact, the only thing within arm's reach was the hose for the vacuum, and I wouldn't have been able to cause much pain or dismemberment by flogging someone with a rubber hose. I made the decision to stay the violence.

    I am supposed to be the one to make him laugh, to teach him to crawl, walk, and run. I was being more than generous when I gave permission to let Pa-pa teach Tyler how to fix cars when he gets older. I gave permission for Pa-pa and Tyler to get a Jeep or Miata or something when he's 8 years old, and they would spend the next six to eight years fixing and restoring it on weekends. This is how I'm repaid? Stealing MY milestones?!

    I'm sending a letter via certified mail to him with the imprint if a giant red stamp on the paper. It'll be positioned at a 45 degree angle, for dramatic effect, and it'll simply read "INVITATION REJECTED". I may even go the extra step to get the letter notarized and delivered by a local sheriff. I'll pay him an extra hundred dollars to say "You've been served."

    It's midnight already?

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    Pregnancy is a disease*. I know that's a bold statement to make, and I have very little science (translation: none) to back it up, but I'm sure that I'm right, just as I'm sure that the world is flat. My arguments are as follows:

    + It tends to be contagious
    + It causes memory loss
    + It appears to cause "selective hearing"
    + In women, there is a tumorous growth in your belly that seemingly doubles in size every 4 seconds, and leeches you of your very life force.

    If that's not a disease, I don't know what is. I would like to touch on a couple of those points, if you don't mind.

    I won't lie to you. I don't exactly know how this works with women. They call it the "baby bug". When a woman is pregnant, it's only a matter of time before pregnancies start popping up all around you. They say it's "in the water", but I don't have any beakers or bunson burners to independently verify this.

    Men are different. We purposely (maliciously?) try to force pregnancy upon our friends.

    Me: "Hey man, Sarah's pregnant. Looks like yours truly is gonna be a dad."
    AnyMan: "Oh boy, the last thing the world needs is another 'you' running around."
    Me: "That joke gets funnier and funnier everytime I hear it."
    AnyMan: "Dude, your life is over. Say goodbye to ever having fun again."
    Me: "DUDE, you should get your girl pregnant. It'd be awesome. Our kids could play together."
    AnyMan: "Yeah, ummmm... I don't think so."
    Me: "C'mon man, being a dad is going to be awesome. I'm trying to share the awesomeness with you."
    AnyMan: "It's ok. I think I'll just stay lame and, you know, do whatever I want whenever I want."

    Memory Loss
    When Sarah was pregnant, she misplaced her wallet, cellphone, the home phone, keys, the dogs, our house... everything. To top it off, Sarah seems to have forgotten that she forgot everything. She's already planning for a sibling for Tyler (in a few years, back off).

    The memory thing affects me, also. Although I can remember just about about every detail of Tyler's birth, the colors of the memory are muted and not as intense. I'm sure that before long I'll be recalling the memory to friends as a wonderful, pain-free experience.

    Selective Hearing
    This one didn't come to me until yesterday. We've already cleared up what my non-parent male friends may have said to me when I told them Sarah was pregnant. When I told people that already had at least one child about my pending membership in the Daddy Club, they would say that it is "the single greatest, most rewarding thing you'll ever do". And they were right. I can't even imagine not having Tyler around.

    But let me talk about yesterday. When I finished with work, I played with Tyler for awhile, ate dinner, played 2 games of cribbage with Sarah, played with Tyler, watched "Forgetting Sarah Marshall", and played with Tyler. When he went to bed, I turned on the Browns/Giants game, and Sarah started catching up on email. When the 4th quarter rolled around, and I realized that the - until now - undefeated Giants weren't going to win, I pulled out my laptop and started catching up on my news sites. When I finished that, I opened up my news reader so I could catch up on blogs. I glanced at the clock and saw that it was midnight. What? It's midnight already? I needed to be up and getting ready for work in just 4 and a half hours!!!

    That's when my eyes really opened up. It wasn't just that I didn't have time to read the blogs. As I looked around the room, I started processing what I was seeing. A burp cloth on the couch, six childrens' books from the library scattered on the floor, a camcorder with a drained battery next to the dog bed, a camera on the floor, a pacifier over here, a doggie bone over there.

    Things started coming together like they do at the end of M. Night Shyamalon films. I was spinning in circles in one direction, and the camera was rotating around me in the other direction. Memories and conversations replayed in my head. Although I was listening to what my friends were saying at the time, my brain wouldn't let me HEAR everything that they were saying.

    At the time, what I heard was, "Becoming a dad is the greatest, most rewarding thing you will ever do."

    My brain filed away the rest of the conversations into an area of my mind that I couldn't access. Yesterday, the floodgates to those inaccessible areas either opened or came crashing down.

    "...but you won't have time for ANYTHING any more."

    "Kiss your hobbies goodbye, because it's all about the baby now."

    "Get your butt in gear, because Sarah's going to need more help around the house."

    I became light-headed as I realized that I simply do not have the time to maintain my current daily habits. There aren't enough hours in the day.

    In the spirit of full disclosure, I must mention that I believe I'm addicted to the internet. No joke. I check my email constantly. You know, just in case there is an emergency, and the person decided to email me instead of call me. I check Digg about 4 times a day. Yeah, I think I've got a problem. I have an action plan to combat the issue. I haven't told Sarah about this, because she wouldn't believe that I can do it. She's accepted my addiction and sees it as part of the status quo now. It's win-win for me though. If I do limit my 'net use, she'll be surprised and happy. If I fail, well, she's none the wiser, unless she reads this blog. But let's face it, she's only online for about 2 minutes a week, so she's not likely to catch this post.

    It sure would have been nice if there was a memo that mentioned that days are still only 24 hours long when you have a baby. I was under the impression that, since the human population in our house increased by 50% from 2 to 3, the number of hours in a day would increase to 36. It would have gone a long way towards making things more manageable for me. It turns out, and here's the shocker folks, that the universe does not revolve around me. It only seems like it because it revolves around our flat planet.

    * That reminds me; I broke up with a girl once by saying, "You're like a freakin' virus, and I'm tired of being sick." In hindsight, I'm thinking that wasn't the most tactful of ways to end a relationship, but it was amazingly effective.

    Wordless Wednesday

    Because I'm kinda feeling depressed today and don't have the energy for a full blog.


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    It seems like all the blogs I read have had at least one political post in them. I decided early on in my blogging career that I would not be doing one myself. Well, as you can see from the title of this post, it appears that I am a liar. But that actually better qualifies me to do a political post than you. See, since I'm a liar, I'm already *thinking* like a politician.

    I think the Gearhart Household would be best suited to be a dictatorship. I would, of course, be dictator. My first order of business would be to require all those in MY household and, therefore, under my direct control, to adress me as Supreme Chancellor.

    You: "Why a dictatorship, Joe?"
    Me: silence, raised eyebrow
    You: *sigh* unamused "Why a dictatorship, Supreme Chancellor?"

    A couple reasons come to mind without much forethought. Firstly, because it would be friggin awesome. Excuse me for a moment, while I make a "rock-and-roll" face, stick my tongue out, raise my hand in the air, and extend my pinky and index fingers in the "devil horns" gesture. Secondly and, possibly, more importantly, I don't think I could win an election against my wife, Sarah.

    If it were just the dogs, it would end in a tie vote of 1-1. Logan is a loyal supporter of a Sarah-run house, and Delilah would rabidly endorse yours truly, Chancellor Gearhart. But, it's not just the dogs any longer. TYLER IS THE SWING VOTE!!!

    On December 31, 2007, Sarah had an OB appointment. Our midwife (Michelle) was out with the flu, so the other midwife in the office (Stephanie) filled in. At the end of the appointment she asked us a question that caused my brain to short-circuit.

    Stephanie: "Do you want to see if we can find out the sex?"
    Me: *blankness*
    Sarah: no hesitation "YES!"

    Sarah was only 15 weeks pregnant at this point, so we hadn't expected that question for another 5 weeks. But, the OB office doesn't charge for ultrasounds, so what did we have to lose? From what I understand, free ultrasounds are both rare and awesome. We wanted to get one at EVERY visit, just to be SURE that our baby was still safe and good. We didn't though. Since we're not completely sold on the safety of ultrasounds on a fetus, we only got them when they were recommended (to check for brain measurements, heart functionality, etc). But, we both agreed before Sarah got pregnant that we wanted to know the sex of our baby.

    In an instant, my brain started back up and I found my tongue. I echoed Sarah's excitement and nervousness when I repeated her answer, "Yes!"

    During the U/S, my heart jumped multiple times and I thought to myself, "Did I just see a... ?", but Stephanie didn't say anything about it. She would only say things like, "and here's the heart. It looks good.", "you can see the ribs here.", "oh, here are the toes."

    The anticipation was KILLING me! I could feel individual strands of hair turning gray on my head. I just wanted to grab her by the shoulders and shake her, screaming, "I DON'T CARE ABOUT THE &@#%ING TOES TODAY!!!"

    Finally, and not a moment too soon for her own safety, she said, "well I won't keep you waiting any longer. I saw what I was looking for a few times already."

    My brain discarded all unnecessary sensory information at this point. My vision focused and narrowed. It was eerily similar to tunnel vision. My hearing sharpened, amplifying only the sounds within thirty-six inches of my ears. A bomb could have gone off in the next room and I wouldn't have heard it. The only other time my attention was this attuned to a single person was when I was saying my vows to Sarah.

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    It's a boy
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    She rotated and slid the ultrasound wand on Sarah's belly. Somewhere in the back of my head my brain registered the slurping sound of the gel as she did this. An abstract grayscale "W" formed on the screen.

    "And this is a penis." she said as she referenced the middle of the "W". Our then unnamed baby was showing us, loud and proud, what he was working with. She explained that we were looking at him as if he were sitting on a piece of glass, hence the "W" appearance. His legs formed the upward-pointing ends and his *cough cough* formed the point in the middle. She said she was 97% sure.

    Trumpets started blaring in my mind. I thought to myself, "The power has shifted!" Somewhere in the distance - to this day, I couldn't tell you if it was real or imagined - The Imperial March started playing.

    The Imperial March

    Odds of me becoming Supreme Chancellor just shot through the roof like a rocket. I started mentally preparing my acceptance speech, and thinking about the changes I would make while in office. Sundays would officially be pajama-day. Every Saturday would be husband appreciation day. I could taste the power in my mouth, and it tasted sweet. It tasted strong.

    Fast forward to present day. I'm not so sure that I would have Tyler's vote if the election was today. Sarah's got everything stacked in her favor. She nurses him, changes him, cleans him, and loves on him all day. What do I do? I come home from work and unapologetically rip him from the warm, loving, gentle embrace of his mother's arms. Yeah, I've clearly got the upper hand here. Sarah Palin has a better chance of forming a full, competent sentence than I do of getting Tyler's vote. I do have one thing going for me though, my little ace-in-the-hole.


    Years and years ago - we're talking 15 years or so - I was reading the comics from the daily newspaper. One of the comic strips was For Better or For Worse by Lynn Johnston. In this particular strip on this particular day, Elizabeth said something snarky to Michael. In the next box, he looks at her, dumbfounded. And in the final box, Elizabeth has her tongue sticking out of her mouth. There are little lines and dots drawn around her tongue to represent spittle and movement. The caption read "pthbbbtttb". I remember thinking how bold it was that the author tackled the subject of trying to spell out the sound produced from sticking your tongue out and blowing.

    I have no idea whether Lynn Johnston was the pioneer of this, or not. What I do know is that it was the first time I had ever seen it done, and that memory stuck with me.

    The "pthbbbtttb" is my saving grace with Tyler. There is nothing funnier nor more endearing to him than to see me pthbbbtttb. He gets the biggest grins on that silly little face of his when I do it.

    My campaign will be simple, "Vote for pthbbbtttb."

    I don't know if it's enough to get Tyler's vote, but it can't be any worse than trying to work the word "maverick" into every one of my statements.

    Vote for pthbbbtttb
    Vote for pthbbbtttb

    Let's do a shot!

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    A Breastshield
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    Something happened a few weeks ago, and I promised myself that I would blog about it.

    Tyler is a breastfed baby, 100%. How a breastfed baby can weigh 19 pounds three days before he's 3 months old is beyond me. If Mike and Heather want some of Tyler's baby fat for their 10 and a half month old Maddie, I'll send it via first class mail. Also beyond my comprehension is how Sarah can still have excess milk while breastfeeding a 19 pound baby. Don't get me wrong, Sarah has always been *ahem* blessed in the bosom. Ever since her milk came in, her hoot hoots have become ginormous. Still, I've no idea how she can feed the chunky monkey and still need to say, "I need to pump."

    To do the deed, she uses a Medela Pump in Style Advanced breastpump. It's a pretty cool pump. It does it's job, and Sarah seems pleased with it. Two thumbs up as far as I'm concerned. It basically consists of a pump, a carrying bag, a tube, and a breastshield. Check out the picture to see what a breastshield is, as it's the subject of this post. I will also be referring to it simply as "shield" for the rest of this post. If you have ANY imagination whatsoever, you can easily see where it goes.

    Well... a while back, Sarah and I, along with Tyler, went to spend a long weekend with Mel and Adam, and their son, Ben, at their lake cottage. You can read about that here. I didn't mention this particular story then, because I really believed it deserved its own post.

    On one particular morning while we were there, Sarah needed to pump. When she was done, she put the shield next to the kitchen sink. Me, Sarah, and Melanie were all sitting at the dining room table. I couldn't tell you with absolute certainty what we were doing though. I'm sure we were either playing Yahtzee or eating food. Adam is walking around munching on chicken wings (at 9am) or something.

    Adam is one of the funniest guys I know. He can find funny in just about anything, to hell with levels of appropriateness. He is a rabid Buckeye fan, and a Republican though. With those two strikes already against him, he's really got no other choice than to be funny. In my eyes, the two worst qualities you can have are to be a Republican and a fan of a team whose mascot is a poisonous NUT, so you better damn well have a redeeming quality. The day I stop laughing at your jokes, Adam, is the day that my strictly-non-gay man-crush on you is OVER!! GO BLUE!!!

    Anyway, Adam walks out of the kitchen, holding the shield. With a quizzical look on his face, he asks, "What is this thing?"

    That was when he found funny. He didn't wait for Sarah to say, "That's the thing I put on my hoot hoot when I need to pump breast milk for my baby." He didn't wait for Melanie to say, "Adam, put that down, you jackass."

    Nope... Adam found funny. So, instead of waiting for a response, he continued.

    "It looks like something you'd take a shot out of."

    He then acts as if he's taking a shot of whiskey. He holds the shield over his head, cranes his neck back and opens his mouth. He didn't bring the shield down to his mouth or anything, because that would be gross. He just held it about 8 inches above his mouth... BUT....

    drip.... drip.....

    Right into his mouth. It was a bullseye shot directly into his gullet.

    It was at that exact moment that Sarah informed him of the purpose of the item he had in his hands. Adam's face contorted slowly from a look of "did that just happen?" to one that was a mixture of revulsion, terror, embarrassment, and utter disgust. It is beyond me how he was able to keep from getting a second showing of his breakfast, because he looked darn close to bringing it all back up. It was kinda like that scene in Van Wilder when the frat boys find out that their doughnuts aren't filled with custard.

    "Mmmmmm.... I think I've had these before"

    Sarah - evil girl that she is (but that's why I love her) - waits until all this has happened before saying, "I washed it out already. It's clean." I'm sure that didn't do much to alleviate Adam's disgust though. Think about it... if it were you, would you feel better? I wouldn't. For as long as we all live, Adam will be the guy that got some of my wife's breastmilk residue in his mouth. She could have washed it out with bleach using an industrial sized power-washer, but he'd still be that guy.