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    Remembering Grandma Piper

    February 22nd, 2013

    Today we celebrated the life of my grandmother with a funeral that was planned by her. Several years ago she selected songs, poems, and people to speak. It was a pretty awesome event filled with family and friends.

    I drafted most of this post last night. As I listened to two of my cousins talk today about my grandmother, it wasn’t surprising that my thoughts and memories are very much the same as theirs.


    Lorena Hudson Piper – 1915 – 2013

    I am grandchild #8 and the father of two of her great grandsons. 

    Even though Lorena was her given name I don’t recall ever hearing her called by that name in a casual setting. When I was a child she was ‘Grandma Piper’. Others called her Aunt Teet or Teetie — which as a kid I thought was hilarious. It was only when I was a teenager that I learned that ‘teetie’ was how her younger brother pronounced ‘Sweetie’.

    While she will always be Grandma Piper to me, the name I’ve grown to love is just ‘Piper’. It’s such a contemporary name for a woman who lived almost 100 years. Simple. Understated.

    Read the rest of this entry »

    Pig in the Cow’s Butt

    March 2nd, 2011

    Post by S

    As part of G’s bedtime routine we read three books before he gets into bed. I had to put some limit on the number of books because G can go on and on with books to avoid going to sleep. “The Big Red Barn” has been in heavy rotation again. Sometimes I pause in the middle of the page and G finishes the sentences. Other times he gives his own commentary on the animals and their activities. It’s his commentary that led to a funny dialog about one page.

    G: “What’s that? (Pointing to the pink utters on the cow)
    Daddy: “Utters. That’s the cow’s utters.”
    G: “Nuh-uh. That’s pig.”
    Daddy: “No bud. That’s the cow’s utters. Milk comes from there.”
    G: “No! That’s pig!”
    Daddy: “Pig?” (confused for a second. Until I realized it was the pink color that made him think it was a pig.)
    G: “Yeah. Pig in the cow’s butt.”
    At this point, I didn’t know where to take the conversation, so I just read the rest of the page quickly and moved on.
    Now every time we get to that page in the book, he points to the cow’s utters and says “That’s pig…pig in the cow’s butt.”

    Favorite toys

    January 6th, 2010

    I waited to post about G’s fav new toy to see if my first reaction would change.. but nope. He’s played more w/ the empty boxes over the last week. I taped up the Amazon shipping boxes and boxes from some of our gifts. They are big blocks to him – carry around the room, stack them, throw them, and CLIMB on them. He puts them next to the table or sofa and climbs up and down — with the soundtrack of him saying “UP”, “DOWN” over and over and over…

    Happy Birthday G! Happy Mother’s Day A!

    August 29th, 2009

    (a post by S!)

    One year ago at this hour (Aug 29th 3:45 am PT) G was finally born.  I’ve been thinking alot over the past few weeks leading up to his 1 year birthday. The 1 year celebration is more for us than for G – he doesn’t know anything that is going on. The pictures, the cake, the party…. it’s all for us. G does have fun with the grandparents though — so that’s his part of the celebration.

    I’ve re-read our birth stories… both A’s timely post very soon after his birth and my post that took 7 weeks to write. It feels as if those posts are from a time so long ago. We’ve had tears, sleepless nights, concerns and we’ve also had tons of smiles, lots of kisses, laughter (lots of laughter with G), and periods of amazement. It’s been a fantastic year! And it’s been a year that we’ve experienced together more so than any other year we’ve been together.

    G (when you read this sometime years from now) – I love you!! Happy Birthday!!

    And now for my bright idea…. Today is now A’s Mother’s Day. That made up day in May means so little compared to G’s birthday.

    So A — I love you!!! Happy Mother’s Day.

    More Video from the Flip

    November 23rd, 2008

    Post by S

    I spent the afternoon trying to edit the video from our Flip Video camera. I’m still on the fence about this camera. It’s small, super easy to use, but very limited. They’ve tried to make it so easy to use that you can’t do much with the video. But I tried to put together clips from the different videos we took over the last week. I think from now on, I’ll try taking the raw files from the camera and editing them in a different program.

    But for now here are some clips of G:


    Trixie for Data Junkie Parents

    November 22nd, 2008

    Post by S

    What happens when two data loving geeks have a baby? They start tracking stuff – feedings, diaper changes, naps. Maybe it gives us the false sense of control.

    We started logging in the hospital. Initially we just logged diapers and nursing – something the nurses asked us to do. As soon as we got home from the hospital, A quickly updated the hospital tracking sheet to a much more detailed and structured Excel sheet. We used it for a few days before a Nestie recommended we check out Trixie Tracker. It’s a web app for doing just what we were doing, except it does a whole lot more and does it better.

    After the 14 day trial, we quickly signed up for the Premium service and started down the path of collecting data on G.

    Trixie is a robust app and the main developer/owner is super responsive to questions and suggestions. It seems to be a labor of love for him. And it turns out we’re not the only set of data loving parents! If you are interested, take the tour on the Trixie site. The Trixie site does a much better job of showing off the features than I can do.

    It’s not just about collecting data, it really does make our lives easier. Any new parent knows your mind turns to jello – I can’t remember anything these days. So trying to remember when the last diaper change was or how long G slept last night or when we last fed wasn’t possible. Now we just check our Trixie page – which we have constantly open on a laptop in the nursery or we can pull up on our mobile phones. The Trixie site looks sweet on A’s new iPhone.

    It’s pretty cool to see trends in sleep patterns (does that just scream geek?). There were times when we ‘thought’ G had napped more one day than he had done on a previous day — only to find out our guess was totally wrong. Trying to get an accurate assessment was fruitless. We just went to the Sleep Chart; here is a sample from our last week.


    Having the log also helps in the middle of the night when one of us gets up. We can tell what’s happened while we were sleeping when the other got up with him. Knowing when he was fed, changed, and awake brings a level of sanity to an otherwise crazy life. And a side benefit is that I can check out Trixie from work and get a glimpse into how G’s day is going. We can also print out pages to take to the doc appointments if needed. Trixie allows you to track a lot of stuff but we’re only tracking: Diapers, Sleep, Bottles, Nursing, and Pumping.

    I know this level of data collection isn’t for everyone, but you may be surprised how much it helps. Give it a try.

    So what’s G’s data tells us? Here’s the diaper summary! 545 diapers since we started tracking! I’m glad we’re doing cloth otherwise I may feel the need to translate the diaper count to dollars.


    imageSleep: G’s about average on his total hours of sleep. You can see above that his night time sleep patterns aren’t too bad either and that we’ve tried to make his night bedtime a little earlier over the last week.

    Before you freak out and think we let the data dictate what we do — don’t. We do the tracking and it helps with the hour to hour stuff. Then we occasionally step back and take a look at the charts to see if we can gain any perspective.

    Sometimes it is just like looking at pictures – it’s hard to believe it’s been 3 months gone by and the charts from that time bring back memories (mostly of sleepless nights).

    Video of some G Pics

    November 9th, 2008
    Post by S
    I was playing around with Animoto to create a slideshow of some of G’s pics last week. These aren’t any of the recent pics, but Animoto was super easy to use. So you may see a longer slideshow soon. If you are viewing this in a blog reader you may need to click through to see the post on the main site.
    Here is a quick video of G pics using Animoto

    [clearspring_widget title=”Animoto.com” wid=”46928cc51133af17″ pid=”49178db9e3a08da3″ width=”432″ height=”260″ domain=”widgets.clearspring.com”]

    Lullabub – A Sleep Deprived Purchase

    October 23rd, 2008

    In our first two weeks of parenthood sleep deprivation hit us. G was having wailing fits throughout the night. We took turns with him in the Moby Wrap while sleeping in the glider. We swaddled. We shushed until we got light headed. After several nights in a row, I was ready to try anything that could help. We live in a gadget home, so you shouldn’t be surprised that we would try a gadget type solution.

    I recalled seeing a product several months before that I laughed at (mostly due to price). It was a Lullabub Crib Rocker; a cool product that has four pedestals to support the legs of the crib and they stay in sync wirelessly. They move the crib to simulate the motion of a mother’s womb, mother’s heartbeat, drive in a car, and boat on water. It was the Drive in Car that I wanted since G fell asleep right away in the car. I had previously laughed at this product because it cost more than our crib! I thought why would you need a crib rocker when you should be rocking your baby yourself. How quickly I realized that rocking a wailing baby can push you to the edge – even with ear plugs.

    A 4 AM one night $179 was a small price to pay for a night of sleep, so I made what will likely be the first of many Sleep Deprived Purchases. I then waited for the product to be shipped from Australia. 5 days later it arrived – pretty darn fast given the distance. I felt like a kid waiting for a gift – rushing out to meet mailman on the sidewalk.

    The packaging was very nice and the installation was a breeze. It took longer to get all the parts out of the box than it did to set it up with the crib. I pulled the casters off the bottom of the crib, slid the Lullabub pedestals under the legs, plugged in the power cord, and turned it on. The movement is so subtle that I had to put my hand on the crib to make sure it was moving.


    • Quick delivery
    • Nice packaging
    • Good quality
    • Easy Setup
    • Easy to Use
    • Raises up the crib so you don’t have to bend over so far
    • Allows for manual rocking of the crib with your hand motion
    • Baby can soothe himself once he figures out his kicking moves the crib (maybe wishful thinking)


    • Motions are very subtle – nothing like a drive in our car or sitting in the womb
    • Only stays on for 30 minutes before you need to start it again
    • Icons on remote aren’t obvious until you’ve used it a bit


    In order for this product to knock it out of the park and deliver on its promise to “calm and relax your crying baby & help soothe unsettled babies” it should make some changes. 30 minutes of calming doesn’t go far for truly unsettled babies or even just crying babies. The times when we’ve had a good experience with G and the Lullabub it’s been after he was already calmed and almost asleep, but he seemed to wake up just after the 30 minute period stopped. I would go back to the nursery to start another cycle.

    Our swing does the job but only AFTER he’s calmed – G stays sleeping peacefully in the swing (set on High) for hours at night. The motion of the car works best when he gets jiggled from the bumps in the road, rough pavement, or the rhythmic bump-bump of the seams on the highway. In his stroller he likes the bumping of a dirt path over the smoothness of a sidewalk. The subtle motions aren’t enough to calm him – he needs more!

    So the Lullabub would work better for G if it had an option for a motion with more jiggles! I suggest the Lullabub folks get together with Dr. Karp and design a Happiest Baby on the Block setting. Dr. Karp certainly supports a more active motion for calming crying babies.

    We’re keeping the Lullabub, and I expect it will prove more beneficial when G gets past this crying, fussy phase.

    Should you buy one? It depends on what motions soothe your baby and how much you like gadgets. Now if they only made one for our King-sized bed! Or if they made a similar product that was intended as a base for your carseat — then you could put the crying baby in the car seat, put the car seat in, and watch your baby fall asleep to the motion of a car (but a car driving on a road with bumps, not floating across the ground).

    Gumdrops are great

    October 22nd, 2008

    Post by S

    My new favorite baby accessory is the Gumdrop! That’s the Gumdrop Pacifier.

    The hospital gave us a Soothie pacifier – it was the first pacifier G tried and he sucked on it. But I HATED it. It was heavy and fell out of his mouth often. It covered up most of his face. There wasn’t any easy way to attach a regular pacifier leash and the Soothie leash was even worse than the pacifier. I eventually took off the leash attachment and just tied the string through the hole in the pacifier.

    It’s almost as if it was designed by someone that never watched a baby use it.

    Late one night after picking up the Soothie off the floor one too many times I did a web search for “Better Soothie Pacifier” and found the Gumdrop Pacifier. The Gumdrop nipple is the exact same as the Soothie but the outside is drastically improved. I read the reviews and at 3 am ordered 6 with Express Shipping.

    I LOVE the Gumdrop!

    G loves it too. It doesn’t fall out as easily. It takes a regular paci-leash. And he looks better in photos with it too.

    If your baby likes the Soothie – Give the Gumdrop a try! They will even send you a free one if you send them your Soothie – Trade in Your Soothie.

    I ordered ours from Amazon (from Gumdrop Pacifiers’ Amazon store).

    Cloth Diapering Update

    October 21st, 2008

    Post by S

    This post was supposed to be written back in August right after we prepped our batch of cloth diapers. The weekend I supposed to write the post was the weekend that G was born.

    I wanted to attempt cloth diapers, so A left the diaper research and plans to me. The idea of landfill waste due to disposable diapers makes me cringe and as we bring G into this world it’s even more important that we attempt to leave the world a better place for the next generation.

    When I first saw this shirt, I couldn’t get it out of mind. It pretty much summed up the main driver for cloth diapering.

    Our plan was to give the cloth diapers a try and see if it would work for us. The plan was to:

    • Start with disposables until the meconium passed but use eco-friendly disposables. Tushies were the ones I selected.
    • Switch to Kissaluvs Size 0 (KL0) until he’s about 12 lbs and use some infant prefolds if we ran out of KL0s between washings.
    • Go to Bum Genius 3.0s from 12 lbs to potty training.

    I didn’t want to use prefolds exclusively (which is what diaper services use), and the thought of the added eco-impact of a diaper service coming from San Jose didn’t sit well with me either. But we did buy prefolds to use as backups and burp clothes since they are so cheap ($1.50 – $2.50 each).

    Before G was born I placed our order with with Jillian’s Drawers for the KL0s and some prefolds (as backups). I prepped them so we would be ready to start using them we G came home. Here’s a pic of our first stash of diaper goodies.

    The plan changed when G was born. He was too small for the Tushies (the smallest size is a Size 1) or the Kissaluvs, so we stuck with the eco-awful Pampers Swaddlers they issued us in the hospital. I was worried that 4 weeks of Swaddlers disposables would spoil us and that we wouldn’t give the cloth diapers a fair chance.

    We started using the Kissaluvs two weeks ago. So how’s it going?

    We had more leaks the first week (about 1/day). But realized it was because if any part of the KL0 wasn’t covered by the waterproof cover (we’re using ProWraps) then once the diaper was wet it just wicked the wetness to G’s clothes. Our leaks have been minimized, but if someone can recommend a better cover I’m all ears.

    We decided to continue with disposables at night because the KL0s can’t hold the pee from even a 4-5 hour sleep session and there isn’t room for a doubler. Life is all about trade offs and in this case we chose SLEEP.

    We need to change his diaper more often with cloth since he really tells us when he’s wet now. It’s getting easier to tell the diaper cry from the other cries.

    We’re using about 6-8 KL0s per day and 2 disposables per night. We’re washing a load of diapers every other day. For now, we’re sticking with it. Let’s hope we make it to the Bum Genius stage in a couple of months.

    I’m hoping it will be easy to stick with this plan since our day care provider supports cloth diapering and our good friends A&B are also doing cloth diapers — so we have a support group!

    If you are considering cloth diapers, check out the Trial Program from Jillian’s Drawers where you can try a variety of cloth diapers for only $10!

    And for more info on cloth diapering, check out the Tutorial at Jillian’s Drawers and let them debunk a few myths.