Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Poll, One Day Late...

Sorry about that. I was really busy yesterday, and there was no weekly poll. I know, you're devastated, and now you only have six days left to vote.

Keep in mind that this is the last poll of the first round. After this, it's all repeats to find the one y'all like the best. I don't know if I should tell you this or not, but my favorites are in this round. I mean, seriously, who doesn't want their middle name to actually be "Danger"?!? Imagine all the people the Monster could impress! And I _know_ he won't be the only "Beckett" his age in the Boston area. Obviously, I'm biased, but you still get a vote*!

* Your votes are, as always, for information and fun only. Stef and I reserve the right to name the Monster whatever the heck we want (and Stef says she reserves the right to make me sleep on the sofa for eighteen years if we name him "Danger").

Monday, October 29, 2007

Sox Sweep Rox In Series

I'm sorry the Monster missed it, but it was still awesome. Is it too late to add "Lowell", "Jacoby", "Lester" or "Beckett" as a possible middle name for the Monster? Alexander Beckett Howell isn't actually too bad, IMHO.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Monster's First: Class

After work on Friday night, Stef and I took the Monster to Women and Infant's Hospital for our first class (of, like, five) related to his eventual birth. The class was called: "Hospital Tour and So Much More," and it was helpful, if only to see what the room will look like where Monster will be born and to learn the administrative processes of the hospital. A map would have been nice for the tour, but other than that, it was useful. Mostly, it helped calm our nerves regarding the mundane questions like: how do we get there, where do we park... stuff like that.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Monster Update: 31

This week, the Tummy Monster measures over 16 inches long and weighs about 3.3 pounds (approx. weight of four navel oranges) and he is heading into a growth spurt! He can turn his head from side to side, and his arms, legs, and body are beginning to plump out as needed fat accumulates underneath his skin. He's moving a lot, too, so is having some trouble sleeping because the Monster's kicks and somersaults keep her up. Her ability to walk long distances or handle bumpy roads is significantly decreased, as well. But all this moving is a sign that your baby is active and healthy.

Text adapted from Baby Center.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

World Series Is Here, Monster Is Not

In 2004, just after the Sox won the World Series, as Stef and I slogged home against the flow of the Boston mob heading downtown for post-game drunken revelry and rioting, I lamented the fact that any child born after that day would have a long time to wait before seeing the Sox in the Series again.

It did not occur to me back then that this also included my own future child(ren).

And now, here we are. October 2007, and the Sox are once again on their way to the Fall Classic. Now, certainly, the Rockies don't look like the '04 Cardinals, but I am as confident as a member of the Red Sox Nation can be* about the Sox's chances, here. But winning would, for me, be kind of bitersweet, since the Tummy Monster won't be able to see the Green Monster for at least another few months now and share this moment with me. Poor kid is going to miss some great baseball here.

Well, at least his cousin Hunter (pictured) will be able to regale the Monster with the details of the games!

Let's go Sox!

* Max. confidence of any Sox fan = shy kid with acne, two lazy eyes and a stutter.

Nursery Photos!

Dear everybody,

I attach for your perusal and enjoyment photos I took last night of the Tummy Monster's mostly-finished-but-still-mostly-empty nursery. Basically, the walls are painted, the furniture is all in place (except for the rocker), and the decorations are up. Now all we need is a bit more stuff and a Monster, and we'll be good to go. As always, higher resolution images and other pictures of things we have done are available here.

"Paddington Bear" and "Babar" framed pages

"Curious George", "Dr.Suess's ABCs" and "Are You My Mother?" framed pages

"Frog & Toad" and "Lil' Monster" framed pages

This is the bookshelf I finished and painted. There were originally two of them, but it was my first time staining anything, so they came out really horrible, actually. The one you see here isn't too bad (unless you look closely), but the one in the basement is staying in the basement.

Here's the room, pretty much, including a good shot of the Monster's dresser/changing table. That's the most expensive thing in our townhouse right now. And it's going to get peed on. Constantly. Off to the left of the dresser is a space for the rocker in what we're calling the Story Corner.

Here's the nursery's (Eastern-facing) window. The Monster's room has beautiful light for most of the day (not pictured), and a great view of our porch and quiet backyard (not pictured). The laundry basket (a gift from Fran's parents... thanks!) probably won't go there.

And, finally, here's the Monster's crib (a beautiful piece of furniture, IMHO), which also features a mobile (also a gift of the Behrs') and a Raggedy Andy doll made for me when I was a baby by my Aunt Becky. The quote above the crib is taken from Dr.Suess' "Oh! The Places You'll Go!" Attribution would've cost more, and we thought it was kind of obvious anyway. We got the lettering at a place called Wallwords. They went up really easily and look fantastic.

Well, I hope you enjoyed the photographic tour, folks! I'll take some more pictures after Stef's shower when everything is in place. In the meantime, we're just happy to be done for a few weeks.

- Marcus

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Monster's First: Party

This past weekend, Stef and I decided to start a new family tradition by hosting our first ever annual Harvest Party for all our "family-friendly" friends. Because fancy cocktail parties and ragin' beach keggers are kinda' out of the picture now for most of us. Also, because Stef says there's nothing inherently wrong with throwing a party where no one pukes and the cops aren't needed.

First, we went apple picking (since we live in Apple Valley and are quite literally surrounded by apple orchards), and then we had a bunch of people over to play games and eat October-y food and just hang out. The food we made was well-received, the weather was perfect (the leaves are just starting to turn!), and we had a wonderful time. Plus, the Tummy Monster got some gifts (thanks Jordi and Jen... and congrats!), which is truly the hallmark of any great party. I think young Master Jace will have a lot of company at the second annual Harvest Party. (Pictures to follow, if people send them my way).

Tuesday = Poll

Get your poll on, people. The bracket continues.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Doctor Visit: 09

Not much to report other than Stef's healthy weight gain (five pounds in two weeks), and her flu shot. We're all signed up for pregnancy classes, so hopefully any questions we have will get answered between now and late December.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Monster Update: 30

The Tummy Monster is a bit longer than 15.5 inches now, and he weighs almost 3 pounds! A pint and a half of amniotic fluid surrounds the Monster, but that volume will decrease as he gets bigger and takes up more room in Stef's uterus. The Monster's eyesight continues to develop, though Monster-eyes are apparently not very keen; even after he's born, the Monster'll keep his eyes closed for a good part of the day. When he does open them, he'll respond to changes in light but will have 20/400 vision — which means the Monster will only be able to make out objects a few inches from his face. (Normal adult vision is 20/20.)

Meanwhile, as he continues to get bigger, the Monster is really getting kicky. At one point Stef had to stand up and bend over just to get him to stop playing the mambo on her internal organs.

Text adapted from Baby Center.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

You Can Do Better Than I Can!

Dear Readers of the Tummy Monster blog,

It occurred to me this morning that, after the Monster is born, he's going to need a new Blog, since he will no longer be a "tummy" monster. So, then, the question is, what should the name of the blog be? Also, what should the URL of the blog be (keeping in mind that most of the nice and simple blogspot URLs are already taken)?

Here's what I came up with so far (all URLs are available as of this morning):

  • Xander the Mander (
  • Alexander & the ____, ____, ____ Day (
  • Xander's World Wide Web Log (
  • The Xander Update (
  • Xander Land (
  • What Xander Did Today (
  • Xxxander ( [Ed.'s note: clearly running out of viable ideas, I make a lame joke at my unborn son's expense based on the name we have selected for him]
  • Xander Pod (
  • Xands Of Time(
  • The X Spot ( [Ed.'s note: Okay, I kinda like this one.]

I know you can do better than those, because most of those were LAME, so let's hear your suggestions in the comments, please!


Wow. Last week there was the first shut-out of a middle name suggestion. Allen was just really, really unpopular for whatever reason (I really didn't like it either... it happens to have unfortunate connotations here at my new office). Anyway, go ahead and vote for your favorite(s) this week. Only three more weeks of new names and then the bracket narrows to the next round, which will go faster since you've already seen all the names at least once.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Monster's First: Airplane Trip

This weekend we took what will probably be our last airplane trip for a couple of months to visit my parents and attend the beautiful wedding of family friend Rebecca Willens to Adam Walker (who seems like a really nice guy considering we've met him, like, once and he still invited us to his wedding). The Monster kicked a bit on the plane (mostly on take-off and landing), but any abnormalities could easily have been a function of Stef's lingering cold rather than internal pressure fluctuations or the Monster's sudden realization that he was miles above the ground. We also had the opportunity to raid my parents' stash of kids' books while we were in town, so soon the Monster's library will triple or quadruple in size.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Monster Update: 29

The Tummy Monster is growing rapidly now (mostly due to Snickers bars and Bryer's chocolate ice cream). This week he weighs about half a pound more than he did last week (about 2.5 pounds total) and is a tad over 15 inches long from head to heel. The Monster's muscles and lungs are continuing to mature, and his head is getting bigger to accommodate his growing brain (HIS GROWING BRAAAAAAIIIINNNN!!!!!) — which is busy developing billions of neurons (which he will eventually destroy in his teenage rebellion years). Every day, about 200 milligrams of calcium is deposited in the Monster's skeleton, which is now hardening. Of course, Stef takes Calcium supplements, so I'm hoping the Monster's skeleton will be super-hard, like a super hero. With this rapid growth, it's no surprise that his nutritional needs are reaching their peak during this trimester, which explains why Stef is ravenous pretty much all the time, but that still isn't easy to get used to.

Text adapted from Baby Center.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Doctor Visit: 08 (or thereabouts)

One of these days I'll get Stef to actually post to this blog, but in the meantime, I thought I'd let everyone know the latest slew of Doctors' appointments have confirmed that that the Monster is doing fine, and so is Stef (who, as you can tell by the picture on the side, has gotten much bigger in the past few weeks), and there aren't going to be any RH antibodies or something which is good news now and if we have another kid later.

Also, Stef said she was "shot in the butt with Rogaine" during her last visit, but that doesn't make sense to me at all. Now that we're in the third trimester she's going to be going to the Doctor biweekly, so expect more health updates as the Monster's eviction date comes closer.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Nursery Theme Images

As some of you may already know, we have a baby registry (here), and are slowly putting together a nursery for Xander (before and after pictures will come post-shower). And we think we're doing a pretty good job, even on days when I am pretty sure I broke the electricity. Our theme is BOOKS, because Stef and I love to read, and odds are good the Monster will, too. And, sure, we've got the bedding and all the various prefab decorations that go with the bedding, but we also wanted to add some personal touches to the nursery.

To that end, we went to the library and checked out some children's books to scan, and I spent some of last week and weekend scanning and cleaning up the images to print out and frame up in the nursery, even going so far as to tweak some of the colors in the images to fit the colors of our nursery. I then created a website so we could kinda' sorta' see what those images would look like on our nicely painted new walls before printing them out. Here's that site, if you're curious to see those images for yourself. Unfortunately, the internet doesn't do "dark brown" very well, so you'll have to use your imagination with the frames. Additionally, there may be some more tweaking of images if they need it. But overall, this was, we think, a nice way to incorporate our love of books with the prefab design of the bedding set we selected.

Another Poll

It's Tuesday, so that means another middle name poll. Last week "Evan" got a record number of responses. I'm not sure if that's because you liked it, or because you could suddenly choose multiple middle names each poll. The link below will show you the "bracket" we've got going on, in case you're curious about what's next or the results from previous polls.

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Another Monster Friend

CONGRATULATIONS to Jim and Eileen on the birth of their second baby girl, Delamie Jane! Hope she's as adorable as Brenna!

Saturday, October 6, 2007

Monster Update: 28

By this week, the Tummy Monster weighs a little over 2 pounds (or, as Stef says "more than two giant bags of M&Ms") and measures almost 15 inches from the top of his head to his heels. The Monster can open and close his eyes, which now sport lashes. This movement is more of a reflexive blink than a deliberate opening and closing, but it won't be long before he's batting those beauties at us.

Meanwhile, Stef went from very little eating in the first trimester, to eating normally in the second, to eating pretty much every hour or two during the third trimester. There have even been days when she's woken up in the middle of the night and eaten, and then gone back to sleep. It's crazy. Whoever invented Ensure, though, is a life-saver. The Monster is going to be huge!

Text adapted from Baby Center.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

New Poll

As you may have noticed already, there's a new poll for middle names today, and if you participate you'll also notice that you can now vote for multiple names at the same time. Good luck with that.