Saturday, July 30, 2005

Sleeping on through

Well this morning was Day 2 of the boys sleeping through the night. We've been putting them down a little later the past few nights -- between 11:00pm and midnight -- and they're making it to 6:00am. Hopefully that 4:00am feeding is a thing of the past. We were worried that Thursday night was just an aberration, but last night they had a repeat performance. So while we're not completely ready to say we have two boys sleeping through the night, obviously Amy & I are thrilled and hope that this trend continues.

Owen has become nearly a full-time stomach baby this past week. The kid is rolling over with ease now. Rolling back on his back is a bit more of a chore for him, but he likes being on his stomach so much that he doesn't usually fuss once he gets there. It makes Amy & I a bit paranoid since babies are supposed to sleep on their backs -- according to what you read now....which could change by next week of course -- but at a certain point if he's strong enough to roll over there isn't a lot we can do. So we just keep an eye out for him.

Amy & I got some time to ourselves Thursday night. Our neighbors came over and watched the boys for a couple of hours so we could go out to eat. I don't know when the last time I enjoyed two hours away from home so much! It was relaxing just to hear "restaurant chatter" as background noise. And it only took a couple of odd glances from the people sitting next to us when we tried to give them pacifiers while we ate before we realized that we were out in public and didn't need to do that. ;-)

Finally, the vehicle purchase took an extremely frustrating turn yesterday. I've been going to four Honda dealers in the area trying to whittle the price down to what we wanted. Yesterday we decided to go with the lowest offer which was pretty close to our number. But when I called the dealer to accept it, the guy reneged on his offer. To make matters worse, he tried to tell me that his offer didn't include tax, tag, yadda yadda yadda -- the car dealer song-and-dance. I lost it frankly. I can accept it if the guy had been up front with me and said, "I sold the van since we last talked, and now I don't need to go as low as we discussed." But for him to say that I misunderstood his original offer just set me off. C'mon, I have a meticulous spreadsheet with a tab for every dealer documenting every conversation & email I've had. Ugh. As I've said before, I honestly despise -- absolutely abhor -- the car buying process. I think it's the single most painful consumer purchase one can make, worse than buying a house.

On the glass-half-full side, we'll trudge on. The 2006's don't come in for another 45-60 days so we have chances over the next two months to try again. There are still three other dealers who aren't slime that we can deal with. Our dream of a 'Baby-on-Board' sign, soccer ball decal, and 'My kid is an honor student' sticker isn't over -- it just got postponed a bit.

At least we're getting more sleep now to deal with this kind of stuff. Cheers!

Thursday, July 28, 2005

One of Two

I've had several talks with the little guys regarding patience. The subject comes up most often when both are testing their lung capacity while exercising arms, legs and back muscles. Today something changed. Gus was trying to catch some shut eye while Owen decided the pack & play wasn't for him. Owen proceeded to turn over (which he does with ease now) and started to wail. Gus turn his head toward Owen and just looked at him in amazement. I could see it on his face....what's this other thing doing in here?? I explain numbers to Gus and let him know he's one of two. He had a pretty short attention span but maybe he'll take it easy on me next time.

A Quick Salute... Mom. The boys have been three handfuls this week and as we know, Amy B. only has two. But she's been a trooper, keeping her patience and getting through the boys' (ahem) episodes.

Dad on the other hand had the boys for two hours last night and had to go outside and count to ten. ;-)

A toast to Mom.

Monday, July 25, 2005

A Pancake Diary

Amy had given me a heads up at 2:00 that the boys were in rare form today. She called me at work, and I could hear both boys wailing in the background. I was surprised. They were absolute gems this morning before I left for work, laughing and cooing on the bed. After I left Amy took them from a walk, and all hell broke loose. Gus screamed the whole time. Tucker -- after having his walks trimmed the past couple of days because of the heat -- pulled Amy all around the block. And our dear little bald headed boy Owen was inconsolable all day long, crying and screaming no matter what Amy tried -- car seat, carrier, swing, back, belly, crib, Pack-n-Play. (We love our kids.)

Knowing this as context, I pulled into the driveway at 5:18 to try to provide some relief. Below is our diary. (We love our kids.)

5:18 - Owen is screaming upstairs in the nursery.

5:19 - Derek takes Owen into the bedroom and changes clothes. Owen is now screaming in the bedroom and has rolled over on his belly not able to roll back.

5:25 - Gus is now screaming with Amy in the nursery.

5:30 - The boys realize they must pause for oxygen and stop screaming. Derek sympathizes with the day Amy has had.

5:32 - Mom & Dad discuss what to do for dinner. Pancakes are the winner as they are quick to whip up.

5:35 - Owen, screaming again, seeks asylum in Derek's carrier.

5:38 - We love our kids.

5:40 - Derek and Amy descend on the kitchen to make dinner. Gus is now in Amy's carrier.

5:42 - Thinking Gus has worn himself out, Amy puts Gus down in the Pack-n-Play.

5:43 - Owen settles down in the carrier.

5:45 - Derek cuts fruit for a smoothie. Amy begins with the pancakes, bacon and an omelette for herself.

5:47 - Thinking Owen has worn himself out, Derek puts Owen down in the Pack-n-Play next to Gus.

5:56 - Gus is screaming.

5:58 - Derek puts Gus in his carrier.

6:07 - Table is set. Pancakes are ready. Owen is restless.

6:10 - Amy & Derek sit down to eat. Gus is now in the swing.

6:13 - Gus is now screaming and has spit out his pacifier. Derek moves him to the bouncy seat by the dinner table.

6:14 - Owen is now in the swing with his pacifier.

6:18 - Owen spits out his pacifier and is crying.

6:19 - Derek gets up and puts the pacifier back for Owen.

6:21 - Owen spits out his pacifier and is crying.

6:22 - Derek and Amy both declare their love for their boys. Not just one of them, but both of them. And not just when they're good, but also when they're fussy. (But especially when they're good.)

6:23 - Amy gets up and puts the pacifier back for Owen.

6:24 - Dutch is crying to go outside in the 97 degree heat. Amy opens the back door. Dutch runs away. Tucker goes outside though.

6:25 - Owen is now fussing again.

6:26 - Derek moves Owen into a car seat by the dinner table.

6:27 - Owen does not want to be in his car seat.

6:28 - Amy tries attaching the stuffed dragonfly onto Owen's carseat. Nice try.

6:30 - Derek picks up Owen and puts him in his lap and eats his pancakes with one hand. (Amy has made some tasty pancakes.)

6:31 - Dutch is back, hunched at the door meowing to go outside again.

6:32 - Amy gets up to let Dutch outside. She goes out this time.

6:33 - Gus is now hungry and wants out of the bouncy seat.

6:35 - With Gus now crying, Derek moves Owen back into the car seat. Tucker is at the door wanting back in.

6:36 - Owen is now screaming and has contorted his body face down in his car seat. One leg drapes out of the car seat. Amy lets Tucker in.

6:38 - Dinner is over. Both boys are crying. Diapers are changed. Their dinner begins. The pancakes sure were tasty. We love our kids.

Sunday, July 24, 2005

Poseys trek to North Cackalacky

The Poseys made the trek east to the Tar Heel state. Although it was scorching hot and we had some A/C issues the first couple of days, a good time was had by all -- from baseball and baby baths to retro Sega Genesis and dominos. (Photo by Tucker, not pictured).

Owen and Gus got to meet their cousins for the first time. We had three kids on pacifier patrol should either one of the boys get fussy.

Brooke was all about her new cousins. She held both of them and headed up the stuffed animal patrol. Here she is with the Gus man.

Gavin and Mason enjoyed some quality Sega Genesis time in the basement, giving Sonic the Hedgehog a workout and finally besting the Chemical Plant Zone.

Finally, Tucker crashed hard after following the kids around, multiple games of chase, and Tug O War battle royale. It was a great visit, and we look forward to getting everyone together again soon.

Friday, July 22, 2005

Tug O' War

The Tuckman may have been outnumbered, but he held his own pretty well in this epic Tug-O-War battle with Brooke, Mason & Gavin.


The past two days have certainly been interesting. Thanks to the Guthries we have been camping out next door at their house the past two nights while our A/C was out. Fortunately the repairman came this morning and fixed the problem and we're back in business. It's a good thing as we have had a major stretch of heat lately -- the heat index is supposed to hit 110 in Raleigh today. Ugh.

The Poseys are in town for a visit. Scott, Mason, Gavin, and I made the trek to see the Durham Bulls play last night. The guy next to us even caught a ball from an outfielder who was returning to the dugout at the end of an inning and gave it to the boys. So the boys get to go home with an official souvenir. We saw an incredible catch as the center fielder climbed the wall, a great play from the right fielder nailing a baserunner at home, and of course the bull out in left field light up with smoke coming out of his nose when a home run was hit. It was a great night for baseball.

The gals -- Amy, Ashley and Brooke -- stayed home and watched the boys. Brooke got to help give a bottle and change a diaper. She had better be careful or we might procure her services for the rest of the summer. ;-)

Today as we migrate back to our house that is cooling down (it was 91 degrees indoors at 10pm last night), there is some bocce ball and classic video games in our future. Sonic the Hedgehog and Super Mario will surely get a workout. We'll check in soon.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Dog Days

I have a whole new respect for people without central air conditioning. It's the hottest week of the year here -- the heat index was 107 yesterday, 105 today. And because in life, when it rains it pours, our air conditioner went out today. Lovely.

Days like today make you want to live out west where there's no humidity. I hear Jackson Hole is incredible this time of year....

Monday, July 18, 2005

Three month faces

A Gus grin -- he's gotten to the point where he interrupts eating to smile.

Great view of Owen's spare tire -- the kid is a rock

Friday, July 15, 2005

Never Say Never

One of my favorite musicians is Neil Young. The guy has been around for 30+ years writing songs mixing from all different styles -- rock, grunge, folk, country. I remember watching an interview with him one time where he was asked if he looked back with regret at some of the music he had recorded that hadn't been successful or held up over the years. Young responded that he had learned a long time ago not to say you would never do something because he had tried it all over the years. I think that is sound advice.

Three "nevers" come to mind when I look back at what Amy & I said we wouldn't do once we had children. First, we would never allow our house to turn into a children's playground, a Fisher-Price house if you will. Second, we would never buy a minivan. And third, we would never put our kids on leashes when we took them out in public.

Fast forward to today where our house is now sprinkled with a Pack-n-Play, two swings, two bouncy seats, a fold-up play set, two Baby Bjorns, random sightings of pacifiers, and a dining room table that doubles as Diaper Changing Station B. I think it's safe to say we lost out on #1.

As for #2, we have spent the past three months leaning in and out of the Honda Accord putting babies in or taking them out of their car seats. The trunk holds their stroller and perhaps a handful of pocket change, but that's about it. So we have decided that it's time to give in to our preconceived notions and join the legions of suburbanite families who have a minivan. As my friend Jeff told me this morning, "Practicality wins out every time, Derek." And he's right. In order for us to live our life the way we want -- traveling places with the boys, taking the dog whenever we want, being able to use our backs in our 40's -- we need to have a functional vehicle.

So preamble aside, we test drove a Honda Odyssey last weekend, a great test drive since it was our neighbor's across the street and we didn't have to deal with a salesperson. Then Amy test drove Chrysler's model last night. Ultimately we decided on the Odyssey (which as a bonus is the one the CarTalk guys recommend....gotta love Click & Clack.

We sent off emails to four area Honda dealerships last night, hoping to pit them against each other so we can get the best deal. (Side note, in our free market society why on earth hasn't a car company developed a better, less painful way of buying a vehicle? I think people like going to the dentist for a root canal more than they do buying a car.) So we'll see how the weekend plays out.

BTW, if anyone knows of a good deal on a kid leash set, we might as well relinquish that preconceived notion as well. Cheers!

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Monday, July 11, 2005

Happy Monday


Looks like Owen & Gus aren't the only siblings out there with those names. As I read this, there are some eery similarities between our boys and theirs...

  • Our Owen also has a look of "What can I get into next?"
  • Their Owen is also "wound up and ready to go."
  • Owen & Gus are also our yin & yang.
  • Gus is their sleeper, as our Gus is ours.
Bizarre. I should email these people.

Top Dog

The past three months have been an adjustment for Tucker, our 6 yr. old chocolate lab. Amy & I knew that the T-man would experience a bit of baby shock when Owen & Gus arrived, at least initially. And while it is true that his place on the totem pole of priorities has been knocked down a couple of notches, we must say that Tucker is still a "priviliged" dog.

Thanks to the Guthries, our great neighbors, Tucker now has two homes. When the boys begin practicing their choral harmonies in the house, it is not uncommon for Tucker to go to the front door giving us the look of "For crying out loud, please let me the @#$% out of here." Tuck will then venture next door to visit the neighbors and their two dogs and return once things have calmed down.

Amy & I have also continued doting on the dog when we can. He has a new dog bed which is his safe haven in the house. And he actually gets more exercise than he has in months since walking around the block with the boys is the perfect antidote for fussy infants. As we inch closer to the decision to buy a new vehicle, the dog is another reason pointing us in the direction of a minivan (more on this later). Because you can't take a road trip without the dog....

Long live the top dog. Cheers!

Friday, July 08, 2005


One of my favorite columnists to read is Tom Friedman of the New York Times. He writes often about economics, writing in straightforward fashion about the challenges we face with the globalized society of the future. But he also writes a lot about foreign affairs, offering an objective view of the Muslim world and how we relate to it.

So when I saw he wrote a column today about the bombings in London with his take on the solution, I immediately read it. Friedman makes some great points -- namely that it's up to the silent majority of moderate Muslims to step up and condemn the radical faction of Islam that continues to perform heinous acts. I completely agree.

Because there is no obvious target to retaliate against, and because there are not enough police to police every opening in an open society, either the Muslim world begins to really restrain, inhibit and denounce its own extremists - if it turns out that they are behind the London bombings - or the West is going to do it for them. And the West will do it in a rough, crude way - by simply shutting them out, denying them visas and making every Muslim in its midst guilty until proven innocent.

And because I think that would be a disaster, it is essential that the Muslim world wake up to the fact that it has a jihadist death cult in its midst. If it does not fight that death cult, that cancer, within its own body politic, it is going to infect Muslim-Western relations everywhere. Only the Muslim world can root out that death cult. It takes a village.

Check it out if you're interested.


Amy & I created the Rutl Farm to communicate what's going on in our lives, what we're thinking and experiencing. Obviously the #1 (and #2) things in our lives are the boys. But one thing we have agreed to do as we journey into parenthood is to keep our own identities, to keep doing the things we love to do that make us who we are.

As many of you know I follow politics closely, probably too closely for my own good. And while the last thing I want to do is alienate friends and family who are coming here to get the latest update on Amy, me, and the boys, I also want to use this as a place where I can share the thoughts that make me who I am. So if I link an article or post a thought that rubs anyone the wrong way, feel free to tune me out and go on to the next post. Or if you want to comment on a post that articulates a different perspective, those are certainly welcome too.


Ten Pounders

We took the boys to the doctor today, mainly for Gus to get checked out. He has developed a rather teeth-gnashing habit of wailing when he eats. We thought it might be acid reflux because it only happens when he's horizontal and eating. Anyhow, we have some medicine now for him to treat thrush, which sounds like something you plant in your yard but apparently is some kind of yeast that irritates the mouth.

The doctor wasn't concerned though, and the boys continue to grow at a good pace. Gus was 10 lbs, 2 oz. And since we had Owen in the room we plopped him on the scale too -- 10 lbs, 1 oz. for big O. Owen's weight is rather surprising frankly because he is such a little chunk, he has the bigger protruding belly, and he eats more than Gus. Still, we're happy with their growth.

Finally here's a picture of Owen some of you have seen, but I love it as it really sums up the kid's personality. Owen is awake nearly all the time -- eyes as wide as moons, very alert, and full of energy. His little motor rarely stops. We took this pic one night before a bath. It always makes me laugh.

Have a good wkend everyone.

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

The Gusman Smileth

Several of our friends have told us that the light at the end of the tunnel is coming with the boys -- that around the three-month mark they start to interact with us. Well we're happy to report that the past couple of days we've started to see some smiles crack through, making the tough times of the past few weeks well worth it. We were finally able to snap a couple photos catching little Gus in the act.

Step one: Smiling = Complete
Step two: How to use the dribble to penetrate a zone defense while keeping your head up and your eye out for the open man = In progress

Mission Accomplished

Update: Operation Save the Gold was a success today.

And by success, I don't mean success in a
sort of way....

....but success in a
sort of way.

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Operation Save the Gold

Last Thursday our power went out for a couple of hours. Amy and Owen were at the lake walking with a friend, and Gus & I vegged at home waiting for lights & A/C to come back on. As I sat on the couch the silence in the house and lack of digital clocks made me realize how dependent we are on power. You don't really realize it until it's taken away.

Anyhow, the power company was knocking door-to-door this morning telling people in our development that they are shutting off the power tomorrow from 8:00am to 2:00pm. Whatever the problem was last Thursday night, they need to turn the power off tomorrow for six hours to fix it. Which brings us to our Operation.

Amy has been a trooper for the past 80 days keeping her milk supply up by pumping, often in the wee hours of the morning. This dedication coupled with the fact that supply was initially greater than demand (at least while the boys were in the hospital the first two and a half weeks of their life) has led to quite a large accumulation of frozen breast milk in our freezer.

So our effort to save weeks of nutrition for Owen and Gus not to mention hours and hours of effort on Amy's part began this afternoon. We hauled out every cooler we could scrounge up across the house....

....and bought 96 lbs. of ice in preparation for tomorrow.

To add insult to injury, tomorrow is supposed to be the hottest day of the summer so far. So rather than deal with two eleven week-olds in an A/C-less house, Amy is taking the boys to some friends' house for most of the day. (That which doesn't kill us makes us stronger, right?)

We'll check in tomorrow and let you know if our Operation was a success. (And after we've eaten the last of the cookies-n-cream ice cream in the freezer tonight.) Cheers all!

Friday, July 01, 2005

Hop On The Bus, Gus

For all intents and purposes, our man Gus (aka Splash) is a mellow baby. He is definitely the sleeper of the two boys. Where Owen is wide-eyed and commanding attention all day, Gus usually naps during the daylight hours. When he does wake up, as Amy mentioned it is more like the sun rising than a lion roaring. He takes his time and checks out his surroundings before the rumble from the belly kicks in.

While we consider Gus an easy baby he has his moments, usually as he eats. If the milk is flowing like a fire hose, Gus pitches a fit. And I don't mean a cranky little cry, I mean a red-faced, puffy bottom lip, breath-skipping tantrum. You would think we were feeding the kid hot coffee. By contrast Owen would open a second mouth if he had it -- the kid's appetite is ravenous. But not Gus. He is a very particular eater who often goes back to sleep with only a semi-full belly.

The Gus Man -- the mellow man consuming his share of sleep at 220 Kronos well as everyone else's.