Tuesday, January 30, 2007

I couldn't believe it...

I came home from work and found my wife in bed with a handsome African American man...

Monday, January 29, 2007

Some new pics

Here are my guys... how cute!!

Here's one of Grant taken today.
He was looking out the window upstairs;
he currently has a fascination with light. Isn't he beautiful?
Here's Grant after his first bath last week. Look at his curly hair!
Told you that he was easy on the eyes!

Friday, January 26, 2007

Week 2 with Grant

There are a world of unknowns and unfamiliars regarding a new baby, but as Grant approaches his two week birthday, we are learning more and more about our son, what makes him tick, and what ticks him off.

What makes him tick 1: eating. Just a few days ago, I took him to the doctor to see if he regained his birth weight. The doctor wanted to see him back up to 7 lbs 15 ozs. In classic Grant overachiever fashion, he weighed in at 8 lbs, 5.5 ozs. The doctor's response: "exceptional weight gain." Let me tell you, that was the only time in my life that I have found those words exciting and endearing.

What makes him tick 2: sleeping. I guess this is a touchy arena for lots of newborns, but Grant, again in that overachiever fashion, is a champ. He sleeps constantly, and getting him to go to sleep is never an issue. We call him the narcoleptic baby because about mid-breath, he checks out. He'll sleep anywhere: his pack and play, his crib, his car seat, the floor, some random person's arms.


What ticks him off 1: being cold. Grant is most ticked off at life when he is cold. I nicknamed Grant my little South Beach baby because he should have been born in Miami. The most obvious time when Grant experiences the cold is during diaper and clothes changes. It is during these times that you realize that he actually has a set of lungs and isn’t afraid to use them. It is also during these times that Grant takes on baby nickname number two: the Trevi fountain. Named for the most famous of Roman fountains, Grant likes to make it clear to anyone changing him, usually Mommy, that he is all boy. Grant’s Daddy thinks that this Trevi fountain trick is hysterical; well, he thought it was funny until Grant pulled a Trevi on Daddy. Not so funny then.

What ticks him off 2: moving too slowly with his food. Bret has kidded me for years that I am the fastest eater he knows, and it’s true. I like my food hot (not warm), and so I tend to eat it up before it gets cold. Grant, like Mommy, eats with speed, and if you don’t have that bottle ready to go, he’ll let you know about it.

All in all, Grant is a dream. He is polite to company, easy on the eyes, and full of good humor. He is growing like a weed (that's what we say here in Indiana), and we couldn't be happier (except for Mommy who could use some sleep).

Monday, January 22, 2007

Carribbean Dreamin' - Part Two

Our first stop was San Juan, Puerto Rico. We were both very impressed by Puerto Rico, and both of us said we would like to return there for a longer visit. The majority of our visit was spent at the fort at El Morro. Another item my father can identify at a moment's notice is any sort of weaponry. Again, in his honor, here I am standing next to a big rusty gun. Could have been shot by Spaniards in the 13th century, could have been shot by the Chinese during the Ming dynasty. I know not which.

Erin thinking "Hmm...How could I manage to leave him here..."

Here are some views of San Juan from El Morro, and a look back at the fort.

I found it distressingly funny that in Spanish, Christopher Columbus's name is "Colon." I suspect that's exactly where some percentage of the disease he left spread across the New World probably originated.

After leaving San Juan, we sailed to the tiny island of Antigua, pronounced "Ann-tee-guh" for anyone who's interested. Apparently we English types mispronounced the name initially and given that we're white Westerners, we made sure our mispronounced name was the one that stuck. Antigua was very beautiful, but also very poor. The islanders proclaim that they have "365 beaches" which in reality means you divide up any given stretch of beach into 10 foot sections and call it three beaches, but at least it gives them a slogan. We took a tour of the island, which was very interesting. We drove to the top of island which provided amazing views of the coast. At one point I noticed what looked like a prison or fortress off in the distance, so I asked our tour guide what it was. "Dat's Erk Klahptun's house, yah?" After scratching my head for a moment, he said "Jew no, duh geetah player?" As it turns out, Eric Clapton found the poorest island he could find and bought one entire end of it. He then built himself a massive house with unbelieveable views. You can see it in the distance here.

"Dis'll be da best pick cha of you vacation."

After taking in Mr. Clapton's house for a few moments, I turned the other direction and spied a row of red roofs off in the distance in the hills. Again, I inquired. "Dat's Whitney Houston's place, yah?" Lovely. Below her home in this picture is the Sandals resort. These three structures are very nearly the only signs of wealth in Antigua.

The next port of call was St. Thomas in the U.S. Virgin Islands. St. Thomas is known as the shopping capital of the Eastern Carribbean, and it also features several breathtaking beaches. We spent a couple of hours traversing the narrow shopping streets before boarding a tour of the island, courtesy of Sunny Liston Tour's (no, not the boxer). We drove to the top of the island where there's a bar dishing out their famous $8 banana daiquiris. The drive itself was moderately terrifying. The tour companies in St. Thomas all feature Ford F-350 pickup trucks with benches mounted in the back for your viewing pleasure. In the continental U.S., the practice of allowing individuals to legally ride around in the bed of a pickup truck was long ago outlawed. But in the sunny Carribbean, you can still enjoy the opportunity to be ejected to your death while cornering at high speeds.

Here's a view of the famous Magen's Bay beach. Very picturesque.

The island off in the distance is currently for sale. Perhaps another faded rock star will make an offer.

At the end of the day, we stopped for a bite to eat and a chance to hang out at Sapphire Beach. This was my favorite of the beaches we saw, as it offered crystal clear water and great views of the surrounding islands. During lunch, Erin made some new friends (about 30, actually). These are either iquanas, geckoes or gila monsters. Again, I know not which.

Here are some final views from the beach. All in all, it was a great vacation. We knew when we returned that Grant would be along shortly. In one week, it seems that much of life prior to him is a distant memory.

One last note. This final couple picture was taken by a gentleman who wandered up to us with his family and said, "Hey look. It's those two crazy newlyweds from the boat! Do you two need some privacy?" Oy.

Carribbean Dreamin' - Part One

It seems like it's been about 10 years ago, given all that has happened in the past week and a half, but Erin and I actually did go on a cruise a couple of weeks ago. Since Grant came along and we didn't get a proper blog entry about the cruise done, I thought I'd put one up. I figure by this point in the entry, all of Grant's grandparents have stopped reading, so I'll generously make fun of them at some point later in the narrative.

Prior to departing from Miami, Erin and I spent several days in Florida, soaking up the Everglades and South Beach nightlife. Neither of us had ever been in south Florida, so it was great to see all the wildlife and nature crap. You don't know how many times Erin said, "Hmmm...I wonder what that animal (or plant or historical structure or discarded auto part) is. Sure wish Drew was here to enlighten us on what it is." (For those not in the know, my dad has the uncanny ability to identify all species of plant or animal at a moment's notice.) So in honor of my dad, here are my nature shots from the Everglades.

Here are a bunch of birds with long necks. (No, Erin isn't included in that description.)

Here are a bunch of alligators or crocodiles. I have no idea which.

Here are some trees on the beach. Could be palms, could be maples for all I know.

Here is a classic shot of a trash container, some Cubans and some art deco buildings in South Beach, Miami. Actually, the random people in this shot might not be Cuban, but if I were a bettin' man...

After departing Miami, I spent long hours contemplating how I would get back to land if Erin tossed me overboard.

I'll post part two later today...

Friday, January 19, 2007

Grant's Screen Debut

It's been a great couple of days home with Grant! He is a super baby, sleeping like a champ, eating like his Daddy, and stealing the hearts of everybody. He has been out and about town already, and we are in today for some much needed R and R. Here's a little video of Grant waking up from his nap. When he wakes up, he is ready for one thing and one thing only: FOOD! If he seems desperate, it's because Mommy doesn't move fast enough with the bottle! Enjoy!

Thursday, January 18, 2007


We just wanted to thank everyone for all of the well wishes and gifts that everyone has been sending Grant and the now anonymous handlers that reside in the house with him. (I knew it was inescapable that at some point in my life my own mother would walk right past me as though I didn't exist, but it still is disconcerting none the less.)

I'll try and get some more pictures up soon. In the mean time, little Grant has already mastered several significant, shall we say, maneuvers (since "tricks" make him sound like a Chihuahua.)

1. He can make four old people, I mean "respected elders," squat down wide eyed and say "Come on buddy, wake up. Just for a minute for mamaw. Please? Please?" for two solid hours. I'm convinced that he refuses to open his eyes not out of tiredness, rather he can't handle the embarrasing scene before him.

2. He can lift his head up with no problems and give you a good staring. Unless you're one of the four adults discussed in #1, for whom he will probably not open his eyes until his college graduation.

3. He made 10 or 12 software engineers congregate around a desk and stare at him, all wondering if he could do anything useful like write software or pickup chicks. Actually, now that I think about it, they were all probably thinking "Gee, I wonder if I could take him apart and put him all back together again and have him still work."

4. (This might be my favorite.) He managed yesterday to master instantly two talents. The first was peeing substantially on his beloved mother (I slipped him a $20 after this trick.) But more impressive was that he managed to pee on his own face. I fully intend to warn future girlfriends of this talent upon being introduced. This trick did not go over well with Grant, and any requests for a second show will be angrily declined.

Again, thanks for all the thoughts and prayers, and we look forward to seeing everyone soon.

Monday, January 15, 2007

Home at last

Well, after an unbelievably draining weekend, Erin, Grant, and I have come home from the hospital. Everyone is doing well... If he looks concerned in these pics, it's because he met the grandparents today. Click here for a link to a bunch (!) of our pictures from the past few days. Here are a few from today...

Saturday, January 13, 2007


Grant Nicholas

Born 3:44am, Saturday, January 13, 2007.
7 lb, 15 oz
19" long

Well, he's got enough crazy hair to last a lifetime, plus he's got all his fingers and toes and they appear to work in a non-random fashion. Looks like he's a keeper. There are obviously still a lot of legalities to finish up in the coming days, but in the mean time, Erin and I couldn't be more delighted.

Friday, January 12, 2007

No News

While I realize that pictures from our cruise and further updates were promised this week, illness has intervened and prevented us from fulfilling that promise. Erin has a case of the flu, and I've got some sort of inner ear debacle which has rendered me without balance. We haven't received any more news on the baby. Hopefully soon!! We'll keep you posted!

Monday, January 08, 2007

Touch Down

Well, we've made it home safely from our cruising vacation, and it's hard to overstate how glad we are to be back in Central Indiana. We had a very nice vacation, but yesterday proved to be one of the most torturous days of travel we've ever encountered. (Fair warning, this will be long. I have a lot to get off my chest.)

We returned to Miami around 6am, and our plan was to stay on the ship as long as possible. We had originally booked a flight on AirTran that would put us home sometime in the middle of the afternoon. About a week before we left, we received an email stating that the AirTran schedule had been changed, and our new flight would be departing Miami at 10am. I checked with the cruise company, and they informed me that we would not be able to disembark and make it to the airport in time for this flight. So I called AirTran, and they informed me that that was our only option. After a half hour on the phone, they got us onto a flight leaving Miami at 5:30pm with a three hour stop in Atlanta, arriving in Indy at 12:30am. We weren't happy about this, but we took it. So we stayed on the boat until 10am and then headed for the Miami International Airport. Our plan was to check our bags in and then perhaps head out to a movie or something close by. We also intended to try and fly standby, hoping to get an earlier flight home.

When we arrived at the airport at 11am, I pulled out my cell phone which had two new messages. I got about three sentences into the first message and started having a heart episode. It was the adoption agency telling us that our birth mom was headed to the hospital and would deliver tonight...but the message was dated Saturday afternoon and this was Sunday! Erin and I both immediately went a little nuts, but then I got the second message which was saying that the hospital sent her home. Shew. We hadn't missed anything yet. It was a pain digging through the luggage looking for a new pair of shorts.

We made our way to the AirTran counter, and everyone in line was complaining about the last minute change of schedule. In reality, we should have taken the 10am flight, which we could have made with some rushing, but hindsight is 20/20. So we kindly asked the ticket agent what our options were. He politely responded "none." We asked to check our bags in, and he politely responded "come back in three hours." So not only did we have 7+ hours to kill, but we had two huge suitcases to lug around, so we sat. We were frustrated, tired, and had a nagging case of what I'll call "sea legs" where the floor still feels like it's moving underneath you.

After we parked in the waiting area (which proved challenging in itself, because every seat we found was next to what Erin considered a "suspicious" looking package or discarded piece of clothing), I began watching other patrons having their luggage shrink wrapped. I had never seen this at any other airport, but all over MIA (this is the 3 letter acronym for Miami International Airport, but it apparently has a subtle dual meaning) there are guys charing $14 per bag to shrink wrap your luggage. I inquired as to what happens if the government needs to inspect your luggage, and the guy informed me that they will rewrap it in the baggage handling area if neccessary. I should hope so for $14. I inquired as to why shrink wrapping might be necessary, and he indicated that your bags spend a lot of time "unattended" at MIA. I inquired with a couple of individuals who were spending a fortune to wrap everything they were carrying. I asked if stuff frequently turns up missing at MIA and they both replied with an emphatic "Si." Not willing to spend $50 having my luggage wrapped, Erin and I reorganized our bags, moving all valuables to our carry-on bag. This was a pain, but we decided that it was the right move.

Sitting across from us in the waiting area was a hapless looking gentleman with a woman who looked and sounded very much like the bus driver from South Park. Approximately every five minutes, she would look at the man and say, "Is Corey still dead?" to which the man would reply, "Yes." At this point, she would begin sobbing uncontrollably and repeating "I could have saved him. It's all my fault." She was also obviously angry with the man, who apparently kept providing the wrong answer to her inquiry. Now much debate existed between Erin and I regarding said deceased. The woman did not appear to be all together stable, and we debated as to whether Corey was, in fact, a pet iquana or dog. Additionally, I couldn't gather whether Corey had died yesterday or 10 years ago, based on the mental state of the woman, but she was obviously still in the grieving stage. After several hours in an airport terminal, these are not the types you want to board a plane with. The strange thing was that she would stop sobbing for just long enough to start yelling at the guy about completely unrelated things. I noted to Erin that I was fairly sure I'd seen the couple on "Cops," and I fully expected them to respond "moonshine" when asked what beverage they would like on the plane.

After sitting for what seemed an eternity, we boarded the plane around 5:30pm. (Can you guess who had the seat across the aisle from me?) We were headed for Atlanta, and everything seemed fine, until we started making these funny turns. Having spent countless hours in the back seat of a small plane with my dad, I explained to Erin that we appeared to be in a holding pattern over central Georgia. About that time, the pilot came on and informed us that we were, indeed, in a holding pattern over Dublin, GA. He explained that there was weather over Atlanta, and we would have to hold until it cleared enough to land. So we did circles. And more circles. And more circles. Two hours later, and the combination of sea legs and holding patterns had our stomachs in knots. At this point, the pilot came over the PA and said, "Ladies and gentleman, we've run out of fuel and cannot continue holding. Therefore we're diverting to Savannah." There was a general groan of disgust, after which the pilot tried to salvage the marketability of his employer by informing us that there were two Delta flights and a Continental flight also being forced into Savannah. So land at Savannah we did. The only way this stupid flight to Atlanta could have been made less enjoyable is if it had actually crashed.

Now every part of me was hoping that they would let us off the plane, and I could run for the nearest rental car and drive home from Savannah. Sure, it would be a 12 hour trip, but no part of me wanted to do more circles over Georgia. And even more importantly, no part of me wanted to fly through thunderstorms with an already upset stomach. But alas, the airline kept us on the plane. After about 20 minutes, the pilot comes over the PA and says, "We're getting ready to depart. We're going to try and push through this storm and get into Atlanta in the next 50 minutes." Ok, so we spent hours avoiding the storm that we're now going to "push through?" This didn't fill me with confidence. And to make matters worse, by this time I had revisited the death of Corey approximately 50 times.

So we took off, and despite absolutely horrid visibility, rain, and bumps, we made it to Atlanta relatively quickly. When we landed, we had to sit at the end of the runway for about 30 minutes waiting for a gate. Since the rain and wind were still blowing everything around, I was actually hoping that we'd end up in a hotel for the night. My stomach didn't want to fly any more. But they held the Indy flight for us, and we took off a few minutes later. (And guess which lovely woman was on THAT flight as well?) The flight to Indy was fairly bumpy, given that we were still fighting the same line of thunderstorms the whole way home. In the end we arrived home at 2:30am. And as far as our luggage goes, it did get opened up, and a large cosmetic kit which Erin just got for Christmas was gone. It speaks well of Miami that apparently your luggage is guaranteed to be rifled through, and anything desired by the local baggage handlers removed.

Needless to say, we're beat. We're awaiting news on the baby, and in the mean time, we're going to try and relax and clear our heads. We'll post pictures and more info about the trip in the coming days. We've already begun discussing what location in the surrounding four states we'll be taking our next vacation in. Neither of us wants to fly again any time soon.

Saturday, January 06, 2007

Almost Home

Greetings from the Bahamas (at least an island owned by the cruise line in the general vicinity of the Bahamas)! First off, we'd like to apologize for not posting more this week. The Internet access on the ship is EXTREMELY slow, which makes it almost impossible to write a blog entry, plus it's expensive. So you pay for 100 minutes, but you spend 65 of that waiting...for...things...to...load. It's pretty awful. We heard Norwegian Cruise Lines (NCL) referred to as "No Cash Left." In some ways, this is true...

In any case, we've had a fun trip, and we'll have lots of pictures when we get home. Since San Juan, we've visited Antigua, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and this private island where we're docked this afternoon. Tomorrow we'll be back in Miami. If anyone has any thoughts on what to do in Miami from 10am until 7pm with two large pieces of luggage in tow, please leave it on my cell phone. It could be a long day of $11 cheeseburgers and travel Scrabble at the airport.

We've had no news from our adoption agency, which I guess is positive at this point. We're excited to get home and move forward with that process. Erin got so excited this morning that she disrobed in front of a family trying to enjoy their muffins and omelettes. Somehow she managed to catch the buttons on her skirt on something near their table, and her skirt basically tore off. Poor girl has had a rough week of humiliation. First it was havnig to board a cruise with yours truly, second was the multiple forms of humiliation inflicted by the Newlywed Game, and finally her standing in her underwear while someone at a nearby table says "Hey, isn't that chick with no pants on the one from the Newlywed Game? Kinky..." You would not believe how many times we've been referred to as "that couple from Indiana from the Newlywed Game" in the elevator. It's been traumatic.

We'll post pictures early next week. It would take me about a year to post one via this connection on the ship. Off to the soft serve machine...

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

San Juan

Today we visited San Juan, Puerto Rico. We only got to see the old part of town, but what we saw, we really enjoyed. We hiked around the narrow, cobblestone city streets, and we took a hike up to the fort at El Morro. If you're in the mood to buy jewelry or maracas, San Juan is the place to be. The weather has been beautiful, and it made for a lovely day of sightseeing.

Last night, Erin made the decision to go to the "Not So Newly Wed Game" hosted by the cruise director. It was late in the evening, and frankly we didn't have anything else cooking, so I obliged. Well it's one thing to attend such a show, but it's another to put your name in the hat to potentially be a contestant. As the room filled up, I thought "Ok, fine, I'll put our name in. There are so many other people in here, what are the chances..."

"Our first lucky contestants are Bret..."

Crap. That's all I had to hear. Erin and I trudged up on stage as contestant number 1. I thought back to when we saw this show on our previous cruise, and fear began welling up inside me. Erin was very excited at the opportunity, but she soon learned. For anyone not familiar, the premise is that you take the guys out of the room and ask the remaining ladies questions. Then it's the job of the guys to reenter the room and give the same answers. This is followed by the ladies leaving and so on.

The guys left first, and as I reentered the room, I saw that the look on Erin's face had turned from excitement to terror. She left the room, and then the questions began. Questions no married couple should ever be posed in front of a room full of half drunk strangers. Multiple questions about anatomy. Questions about where babies come from. It was not pretty. "Double D's, Bob" was one of the answers I gave. I answered each question, but in my head I was just thinking, "How fast can we get out of here."

We ended up doing pretty well, but the experience was pretty traumatizing. We got a free frisbee and a water bottle. Good take, right? The unfortunate part of the task was that the studio audience was encouraged to shout something at each couple regarding their, um, personal habits during the rest of the cruise. This seemed ok at the time, as there were maybe 50 people in the room. No sweat. Then it hit me.

"And don't forget that we've taped tonight's game, and it will be airing in your cabin on channel 32 for the REST OF THE CRUISE."


Now everytime we get in an elevator or start into the buffet, someone yells something at us that is totally inappropriate. If the individual doesn't yell, they just snicker and stare. It's really awful. We've considered switching cruise lines in Antigua, or perhaps staying in San Juan. All I can hope is that this little experience will slow Erin from tossing our names in the hat so carelessly in the future. She does keep life interesting.

Monday, January 01, 2007

Day 1 at Sea

Greetings from somewhere east of Cuba! Just a quick update on what's been happening.

Our Miami finale was enjoyable. We ate at another great Cuban restaurant called Casa Larios. We intended to eat at the Au Bon Pain that was attached to the hotel, so we inquired with the staff as to when they were closing. The polite attendant told me 7:00, so I was somewhat annoyed when I arrived at 6:10pm and they were closed. Apparently the ability to remember a schedule is bleached out by the sun here.

Right after boarding the ship, we had the obligatory muster drill. Erni and I grabbed our life jackets and headed for our assigned station. Normally this is out on deck under one of the many lifeboats. Our station was in the dead center of the ship in a restaurant. Given our "inside stateroom" cabin, apparently everyone in our muster group has a ticket labeled "expendable." There wasn't a lifeboat in sight.

As a running feature for the next few days, I thought I'd post what I've managed to consume on the ship. The cruise director says that the average weight gain durnig a week on this ship is 6 pounds. I'll make that by day 3.

Sunday, Day 1.
Lunch -- salad, rice, potatoes with Indian curry sauce, one slice of veggie pizza, an ice cream cone with marshmallow and chocolate topping, and two unnamed pastries from the buffet.

Dinner -- shrimp cocktail, crab cake, 8oz filet mignon, Caesar salad, 3 dinner rolls, french fries, steamed asparagus, 3/4 of a piece of cheesecake with strawberry compote, and half of Erin's banana compote. Oh, and a large Bass Ale and some bar munchies.

2nd Dinner -- ice cream sundae, slice of chocolate mousse cake

3rd Dinner -- glass of milk, slice of pepperoni pizza, some stir fry, and a mini hotdog wrapped in dough.

Monday, Day 2.
Breakfast -- orange juice, two cups coffee, 4 pieces of bacon, 3 sausage links, waffle with fresh whipped cream and banana compote.

2nd Breakfast -- Milk, apple danish, home fries, 5 pieces of bacon, some fresh pineapple. (2nd breakfast was a direct result of NCL providing small portions in the main dining room. I used the buffet to "top it off.")

So that's the food situation. It's smoewhat irritating to be attacked multiple times as you enter the dining facilities by small Asian women demanding that you use hand sanitizer. Normally, I'm the last person this would bother, but after about 8 shots of sanitizer last night (due to repeated trips to the dining facilities), my hands are pretty much alcohol soaked.

Last observation from days 1 and 2. Speedo == Foreigner.

Over and out. Off to first lunch.
Bret (and Erin)