Boy Oh Boy

920412_10201223895218405_1464215657_oHello! Remember me?

I’m the dad that used to be just a guy and decided to write a blog about it. I did real good there for a while too. I was posting a bunch, people were reading a bunch. I wrote more, people gave more positive feedback. It’s like I was a real writer. Then life said, “Hey! Here’s more stuff.” And I was like, “I’ll write a new post tomorrow.” Then tomorrow turned into the next day, and then the next day, and so on and so on. This happened for roughly three months. So real quick, sorry for the three-month layoff. New job + new baby = no posts.

But that ends now and so, after much pressure from my readers who made themselves very vocal recently and laid guilt trips on me about neglecting Vinny by not writing about him, here we go…for real this time…honestly…really…I know I said that before baby, but I mean it this time…I’ve changed, I promise…I’ll never treat you like that again…you know that’s not me when I get like that.

OK. Vinny. In short, he’s big. Came out 9 pounds, 5 ounces. Michelle had a C-section with him due to her needing one to deliver Ava. When the delivering doctor went to take him out, she needed to stand on a stole to get extra leverage to lift him out. I’ll never forget her words when she finally hoisted him out, “He looks like a one month old baby!”

Born April 26th, today Vinny is exactly two months old. He is over 13 pounds and is long. Michelle is currently dressing him in six month clothing. Now, he isn’t rotund. He’s more just solid, very dense for sure. Durable. I feel I can drop him a few times without doing any real damage. The jump in clothing size is due mainly to his length. Vinny never had that ‘Caution: tiny baby, easily breakable’ feel to him. From day one he was a tank.

With Vinny, I got exactly what I wanted. I got the same thing as I got with Ava. A beautiful, healthy baby. I get annoyed when people say, “You got your boy, I bet you’re happy.” Fact is I always just prayed for a healthy child. That’s it. That was my one request to God. I mean, I can fulfill my life’s missed accomplishments through Ava just as much as I can Vinny. Easy.

However, there was one part of me that was hoping for a boy. That part was my dad. As the only Viola boy, it was up to me to keep the name going for another generation. My uncle only had girls. I was pretty much the last of the male Viola’s in my family, not counting some random distant relative who I have no idea even exists. I was like The Last of the Mohicans. So at the reveal cake cutting, when that cake turned out to be blue inside, my father gave a big sigh of relief. I was relieved as well, but instead of a sigh, something else came out. I believe I said so eloquently, “My d$%k made another d#%k!” A true poet.

I’m sorry I have no exciting story about the trip to the hospital like I do with Ava’s birth. Since Michelle had a scheduled C-section, it was pretty routine (easy for me to say). No fumbling around looking for my shoes. No forgetting to grab bags. No rushing. No nothing. The only odd moment came when they saw on Michelle’s medical history that she was prescribed a certain medicine when she developed an odd rash early in her pregnancy. It was the same type of medicine they prescribe for someone with herpes. So when they asked her if she ever had any STDs, she answered “No”. Then they came back, took me out of the room, and asked her again, because obviously she was lying and didn’t want to say anything in front of me and let me know she cheated on me and got herpes. Serves her right. The sad part is they probably did that because that scenario probably happens a lot.

Anyway, the stay in the hospital was great. The doctors and nurses were the best. Michelle had a little bit of an easier recovery (yet again, easy for me to say). I had to sleep on a recliner…I’ve slept on worse. Michelle ordered chicken fingers for every meal, apparently they received 4 out of 5 clucks on her chicken finger meter. I only left her side once in order to go to a Penguins game, but I left after the second period because I’m a loving father and husband dammit! It was the least I could do. “Okay honey, I’m off to the game with the guys. If you need anything just page a nurse, that’s what their there for. Let me know if Vinny does anything cute, but only call in between periods. I don’t want to seem rude and be on the phone during game play. Oh, and if you get lonely or bored, here’s a book to read. Yeah, it’s the phone book, but that’s all I can find. Okay? Great! See ya!”

And now the pictures (and feel free to share this blog with friends)….

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I’m Making Ava a Pirates Fan So Feel Free to Nominate Me For Worst Father Ever

What a weekend.

Once again we ran around like a band of traveling gypsies. Saturday Michelle and I took a little bit of an impromptu trip to McConnell’s Mills. A great spot about 45 minutes north of Pittsburgh. It has great hiking trails, covered bridges and runs along Slippery Rock Creek, which is more like a small river.

It is very scenic with beautiful views, landscapes and greenery. Trees, ferns, large rock faces, moss-covered boulders/rocks and assorted other forest plants set the scene. It is an ideal spot for anyone who enjoys the outdoors and likes to hike. Ferns are my favorite plant, so I’m like a pig in mud when I’m there because McConnell’s Mills has ferns like an episode of ‘Hoarders’ has cock roaches.

Ava isn’t quite ready for the advanced hiking trails just yet, so we had to stick to the beginner path. It was paved, which is to say it was relatively flat and had something that could be considered a non-dirt surface without roots sticking up and large rocks on the path.

Ava was in her glory though. She definitely is a fan of nature. She was in her stroller and never stopped pointing to plants, kicking her legs, clapping her hands,  laughing and giggling, looking in every direction. The only thing that Ava didn’t enjoy was when mommy tried to dip her toes in the water. Every time Michelle went to lower her feet in, Ava would curl her feet up like a turtle. Later she waved her finger at mommy to tell her, “No more of that!”

Someone who did enjoy the water was Frasier. If you thought we wouldn’t bring him then you haven’t been reading this blog close enough. Frasier tried jumping in the water every chance he had. Then he also felt the need to roll in the dirt and sand once he was out. I had to hose him down once we were home.

We ended our trip that day by having an awesome picnic at one of the many areas they have set-a-side up there. Once again, I highly recommend McConnell’s Mills for any family looking to enjoy the outdoors.

Not to be outdone by Saturday, we headed to the Pirates game on Sunday. Frasier had to stay home this time, though he was still recovering from the prior day’s activities and needed the rest. After fighting through marathon traffic and blocked roads, I had to park a few blocks from PNC Park, which I didn’t think was a real big deal until I had to carry Ava in 80+ degree heat. By the time we got to the park I was sweating like I just ran the marathon and my arm was numb.

I got us duckets in the Pirate Club level. This way we could step inside and watch the game if it got too hot, which we did a lot. Even though we put sun-block on Ava, it was just too hot sitting in the sun. We watched a few innings from our seats, but most the time was spent watching from a shaded balcony or inside the restaurant area. Which isn’t a bad way to watch the game either. Though the Pirates didn’t make it much of a game to watch anyway.

Most importantly, Ava got her ceramic Pirates pierogi bowl, which is worth the price of admission alone. Regardless of how the game turned out, there is nothing like that feeling of taking your kid to a ball game. Walking across the bridge with her. Seeing her take in the park and all its sights and sounds. It was all great and will only get better as she gets older.

We are headed back to PNC Park tonight to see the Buccos play the Nats. Hopefully the Pirates give us a better showing tonight. Either way Ava will be smiling and so will her parents.

Its All Happening At The Zoo

Second on my list of things I wanted to do with Ava, after taking her to her first Pens game, was take her to the zoo. We can now scratch that one off the list.

At nine months, Ava has reached the age where she is curious about pretty much everything and really likes to observe. The zoo is the perfect place to do just that.

It should be noted that this was actually our second time taking Ava to the zoo, however, the first was unsuccessful as it was St. Patrick’s Day weekend and the weather was perfect. Apparently everyone else had the same idea we had and went to the zoo too. I now know that if you are single, you stay in the city and drink on St. Paddy’s weekend. If you have a family, you go to the zoo. The traffic was lined across the bridge that leads over to the zoo. The parking lot had to have been full. There was no way we would have enjoyed ourselves with that crowd, so we ended up going to Phipps that day instead and had an equally great time.

So a couple weeks later I ended up taking a day off of work on a day Michelle already had off. It was also a nice day, a little chilly, but the sun was shining. We got there early and for the most part had the zoo to ourselves, except for a field trip or two. We let them go ahead, no biggie.

Our first stop when we got there was not to the polar bear exhibit. It was not to the lions, or the tigers, or the monkeys (thought I was going to say “bears” didn’t you?). Our first stop was right to the gift shop. For some reason, Ava makes us want to spend money. Everything just looks so damn cute on her. Hats. Sweatshirts. Sun glasses. All adorable to the point where we have no choice. Plus, she needs a keepsake from her first visits to places…that’s just the basics.

As we got moving through the zoo, it was a series of photo shoots. Ava in front of the elephants. Ava in front of the gorillas. Ava with mommy in front of the penguins. Ava with daddy in front of the penguins. Picture after picture after picture. Which is pretty much the norm for everywhere we go, or when we are at home. Let’s just say Ava is well documented.

As we went from exhibit to exhibit, Ava was loving the zoo. She loved pointing at the animals and clapping when she saw we were excited looking at them too. At the aquarium, her favorite part was when a shark would swim right up against the glass. Ava showing what a bad ass she is, had a great time slapping the glass as it swam by.

Her hands-down favorite exhibit though were the penguins. Her eyes were as big as saucers. As the penguins jumped in the water and swam by the glass Ava would clap and bounce in my arms. She would hug the glass trying to get to them. She would bob her head as she watched them waddle on land. Penguins have been a favorite of hers since she was first born. She had penguin stuffed animals and penguins books. This was her first time though seeing them for real, and it was awesome.

There is no doubt that we will be back there multiple times this summer. I am also thinking about making a summer trip to the Columbus zoo, which is one of the best in the world. Seeing Ava enjoy the same things I enjoyed as a kid (and still do) brings me so much joy and happiness. We have a bunch of pictures from this trip, but haven’t downloaded them off our camera yet. I will post them as soon as we do.

On the days between our zoo visits, Ava is held over by Frasier. He for sure acts like he belongs in a zoo sometimes.

Jumping The Gun

"These are all my gifts. Your gift is in my diaper."

I’m not a very patient person. I’m not good at waiting. Lines are my enemy, I hate rain checks and I always choose the express delivery option when ordering online.

Recently I have found my impatience has crossed over into my parenting life. This is troubling. One of the biggest things I gripe about on this blog is about Ava growing up too fast. I want to enjoy this stage of her life.

I’m not looking forward to her growing increasingly independent and one day realizing there is a world out there that needs exploring. I know one day, probably around the dreaded teenage years, she will say, “I hate you” for something I did in her best interest. I have come to terms with the fact that one day she will have her own personality and be her own person. I just need to make sure that I manipulate the formation of that personality as much as possible before she notices.

Me saying, “don’t grow up on me” and then what I do is where I contradict myself.  Just the other day I bought her a softball glove that she won’t be able to use for another four or five years. I buy her sport jerseys and team outfits that she won’t fit into until next year at the earliest. I bought her a pair of Pumas that won’t fit her feet for another year or two either. I can’t help myself.

Michelle is just as guilty. This Christmas Michelle wanted to buy Ava one of those play kitchens. It had all the bells and whistles. All the accessories. Pots, pans, plates, the food, an oven, a microwave, lights, sounds…everything.  It had it all, including the kitchen sink (get it!!!!….sorry, I can’t help myself). I pointed out that the box said it was for kids three and up. Michelle, not letting my logic ruin her fun, informed me that those are just guidelines and not rules, plus we could just put it in the attic until she is ready for it. Once I informed her that they aren’t going to stop making them and in a couple years they will still be around, even better ones in fact, Michelle realized it was best to save our money. A rare win for logic.

It’s just hard not to get excited. You want to give your kids all the best things in life, as well as let them enjoy all the fun things. You want to see the smile. You want them to look cute. You want them to be happy. And you want it to happen NOW.

It’s an odd phenomenon. When you are out and about and see something for a child, be it something you remember enjoying as a kid or just something that looks adorable or fun, the part of your brain that allows you think logically and clearly shuts down. Your eyes ignore the part of the box, or the tag, that states the age range that this object fits or is appropriate for. The only thing your mind allows you to think about is how cute your kid will look in it or how much fun they will have playing with it. Your eyes also tend to ignore the price. And if your eyes do accidentally skim over these areas of the packaging or tag, your brain jumps into action by stopping you from using reason and logic for why you shouldn’t buy it. It’s almost a type of temporary blindness.

The other day I had to stop myself from buying Ava a bike. I’m not talking about a little tricycle or a push cart either, I mean a frigging bike. The damn thing didn’t even have training wheels on it. I had the ticket in my hand and was about to head for the register. In my head I pictured me teaching Ava how to ride a bike and her riding on it saying how much she loves her daddy. My mind actually manifested an image of a what Ava might look like at five or six years old. I justified buying this bike because it was nice and it was on sale…like a bike would never be on sale again. Luckily half way to the register my brain kickstarted and said, “Hey Mike…remember the kitchen play-set Michelle wanted to Buy? Same thing here buddy.”

Say I did buy it and brought it home, it’s not like Michelle would have told me to return it. We are both enablers. I would have been told that it was a great buy and I was smart for getting it. It’s not like bikes are on sale everyday you know.

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The Plague Has Hit

It’s been an interesting past few days at the Viola homestead.

Sunday afternoon Michelle came down with one of those 48 hour stomach bugs. So I was on my own with Ava all day Sunday and Monday. I handled every diaper change, every feeding, gave her baths, did her laundry, read to her, played with her and juggled her needs with anything else I had to get done. Just short of 48 hours. Me, Ava and a big brown dog.

Am I saying I am special because I did something most other mothers (and some fathers) do on a daily basis? No. However, I am proud of the fact I did it and the situation didn’t turn into a total train wreck. Plus Ava stayed in one piece. So I got that going for me…which is nice.

The only thing I really had trouble with was finding what drawers Ava’s clothes were in. No matter how many times Michelle tells me what drawers hold what clothes, I can never remember. Mainly because I don’t really pay 100 percent attention [Translation: I don’t pay attention]. We’ll be in her room, Michelle will say, “Mike I am putting Ava’s [insert important item of clothing here] in this drawer.”, and I will give an, “uh huh” while tuning out after the word “Mike”.

In my defense, my daughter is distractingly cute.

So how does Michelle thank me after taking care of Ava, as well as doing my best to nurse her as well? Well, Monday night I started puking. That night I ate spaghetti for dinner. If I was ever on Fear Factor and had to eat worms, I now know how it would feel to puke them back up.

I am finally feeling normal today. Michelle and I are praying that Ava doesn’t catch this bug to the extent that we had it. So far, so good. If there is a bright side to all of this, it is that we got sick in the beginning of the week because Michelle’s birthday is on Friday and we plan on going to a nice meal. I’m guessing Michelle wouldn’t have been too excited for me or her to be spending that day on the bathroom floor asking God for mercy.

In other Ava news since you last visited, she is now not only rolling from back to belly, but from her belly back to her back (too many backs). Ava is also able to sit-up in certain seats. She has recently been enjoying her activity jumper. I look at her in it and think to myself, “I wish I could enjoy something as much as she enjoys that jumper.” Then I realize she has the same look on her face I get when I walk into a bakery or head to the Hofbrauhaus.

Lastly, in three days Ava will be six months old (mind-boggling). Which means in 6 more months will be her first birthday. Michelle has already reserved the venue. Since Ava’s birthday is in July, we are competing with graduations, other birthdays, reunions, BBQs, etc. From what Michelle has been telling me what she is wanting to do, Ava’s birthday will make the Oscars look like the BET Awards some half-assed, tacky celebration.

Where is the ‘slow down’ button

In earlier blog posts I have stated that I couldn’t wait for Ava to grow-up some so we could do more stuff with her.

I officially take that back. She is growing too fast. No sir, I don’t like it.

I realized this after I put her in her car seat yesterday. A car seat that seems to be shrinking. She used to fit in it like it was an oversized cocoon. Now her legs are nearly hanging over the end.

Ava was weighed just a couple of days ago at 16 pounds, 9 ounces. Mind blowing. With a birth weight of 8 pounds 3 ounces, she has officially doubled in size.

I have grown to really like baby Ava. I like being able to cradle her in my arms. Looking at her little button face. Having her lay across my chest at night.  Her not being able to tell me, “I hate you” or “Go to hell.” It’s all good stuff.

I don’t know how it happened. One minute we were swaddling her and dressing her in teeny-tiny little outfits, then the next thing I know we are buying size 3 diapers and storing away clothes that don’t fit her anymore. She has teeth. She is rolling. She is eating baby food. She is on the verge of being able to sit-up without help. She is recognizing things, mastered her hand/eye coordination, and is developing her own little personality.

She is developing very nicely…and it’s terrible.

Before long she will be walking and talking, and wanting to go play with her friends. I hate the thought of it all, it makes me sick. How dare she grow independent!

We will never get this time back. I am starting to realize now how it is that fathers can never stop seeing their daughters as their ‘little girls’. To me, Ava is always going to be that sweet little baby that falls asleep over my shoulder. The girl I rocked to sleep every night by singing to her. The little angel that puked all over mommy’s face.

The kicker is that in just 10 days Ava will be six months old. It blows me away how much she has developed and changed in just half a year. What will she be like in another six months? two years? 10 years? I need to lay down.

The funny thing is that even though Ava has only been with us for six moths, it feels like she has been with us for six years. It is honestly hard to remember what life was like before her. Sure, Michelle and I were probably in better shape, had a bigger bank account, could go out whenever and wherever we wanted, were able to spoil each other, stay up late and do things on a whim. But were we happy?

Yes, actually, we were happy. But were we fulfilled? Yes, very much so. I’m not sure where I am going with this. I’m not one of those people who think that you’re not compete unless you have a kid, in fact, there are many, many, MANY people who shouldn’t even think of procreation. You know, the type of people who slam on the brakes before entering a tunnel or any of the people who appear on reality television.

The point is having Ava filled a void we didn’t know we had and turned us into people we didn’t know we wanted to be. And now we are addicted.

Just like Ricky Bobby preferred baby Jesus, for now at least, I prefer baby Ava.

Ava Is A Giver

At the end of yesterdays post I promised to tell you a disgusting funny thing that happened involving Ava.

Some may think that the quick little story I am about to tell is not funny at all. However, before you pass judgement on me, allow me to explain exactly why the forthcoming story amused me so. Well, it’s quite simple really. It’s the same reason you laugh when you see someone trip or get hit in the groin. The reason it’s funny is because it didn’t happen to you.

I will delay telling this tale to make one more point. Settle down, good things come to those who wait (or you can stop reading this and just skip down, I mean come on, it’s not like anyone is holding a gun to your head making you read every word. Though I would if I could.)

My other point is that Ava has my “jag-off” sense of humor. She is willing to make a fool of others in order to amuse herself. She could graduate from Harvard on a full scholarship and I wouldn’t be as proud as I am right now. Anyway, here we go.

Wednesday night Michelle, Ava and I were doing our normal thing. I was cooking something up for dinner and Michelle was playing with Ava in the living room after having just given her a bath and then a bottle.

Ava was doing some baby talk (just random bits of gibberish) and all of a sudden “mama” came out. Clear as day. No mistake, it was “mama”. Loud and clear.

As soon as I heard it I ran into the living room and Michelle and I both gave each other looks of amazed joy.

Now we both realize that Ava didn’t actually mean to say “mama” and that it was a sheer coincidence that in her gibberish baby talk, the sound “mama” just happened to of come out. Do these count as first words? Probably not. I could talk gibberish in a french accent and accidentally spew out a couple actual french words without knowing it. That being said, it was still awesome.

Anyway, Michelle got very excited and lifted Ava up in the air and started talking to her. This made Ava happy, smiley and excited. It also, apparently, made her a bit nauseous.

Ava proceeded to spit-up the bottle she just drank right on Michelle’s face and chest. There was a lot of it. That’s not that bad you say? Did I mention Michelle had her mouth open when it happened? Some got in. Some may have even got swallowed.

In the kitchen all I hear is Michelle talking in a happy voice, and then a sudden, “Oh God!”

I run in and find Michelle covered in a white, translucent gel. She looked like she got slimed. It could have been a scene from Ghostbusters. To her credit she was still holding Ava.

I grabbed Ava and all I heard was, “I think I’m going to be sick. I gotta get upstairs.”

After that there was some dry heaving and the sound of the shower being turned on. I looked at Ava, gave a chuckle and asked, “What did you do to mommy?”

Ava just smiled back. It was a nice moment for us. Not so much her and Michelle though.

Ah, the joys of parenthood. They don’t teach that in the parenting classes.

What A Year!

I know I am a few days late on this, but happy new year. I hope everyone enjoyed their holidays and now we can look forward to three months of terrible weather here in Pittsburgh.

As usual, Michelle and I (and Ava) celebrated with family and as usual having Ava with us made everything feel new and fresh.

From Halloween through new years day, Michelle and I reminded each other, “Remember last year when we told each other that, ‘This time next year we will have Ava to celebrate with us.’ and now here we are. Isn’t that crazy how time flies?” It is crazy, but I guess you had to be there when we said it to get the full impact of the craziness of that statement because reading back over it, we just sound like a couple of simpletons.

2011 was a great year obviously, with Ava’s birth being the main event. However, stemming off of that I think Michelle and I really grew as people and as a couple in 2011. Having a kid will do that I suppose, but I definitely feel we are closer than ever and our relationship/marriage is as strong as it ever has been. (“Please hold your applause” [takes his bow])

Once again, Ava’s birth was the reason for this. Sure, frustration still gets the best of us at times and we still might argue and bicker, but the trivial stuff that used to ruffle our feathers no longer seems to matter. We are big picture people now. We have a new focus. Priorities have been re-shuffled.

That’s not to say that having a baby will solve any relationship’s problems. That is never the case. For us though, Ava coming along was sort of like gilding the lily.

I am hoping 2012 will be calm and easy-going year. 2011 was great, but it was also hectic. There was Ava’s birth, planning the shower, going to the birth classes, preparing the house, taking Ava the beach before she was two months old (it was more stressful than you think), planning the baptism, dealing with Michelle who was dealing with going back to work, fitting in all the “baby’s first” stuff around the holidays and finding the right daycare.

Yikes, I’m stressed again just thinking about all of that.

However, 2012 does involve its fair share of events. Ava’s first birthday comes to mind. I also think Michelle and I will have to have the “when do we start trying again” discussion [gulp].

I am also looking forward to a bunch of stuff this year. Ava will be bigger and able to enjoy more activities. I plan on taking her to several zoos and museums. Hopefully we can get back to the beach where she can better enjoy the sand instead of just laying in a tent. I know Michelle is looking forward to starting Ava on cereal, fruit and veggies in a couple of weeks.

Whatever 2012 holds for us, and you the reader, I hope it is nothing but good things. I also want to once again thank you all for reading and supporting this blog. I really appreciate all the positive feedback, as well as your interest in my baby girl. God bless and here’s to a happy and healthy new year.

*Make sure to check back tomorrow as I will tell you a story that will either make you piss your pants laughing or get grossed out to the point where you throw-up a little in your mouth. Happy new year! 

A Very Ava Christmas

Whew! Christmas is officially in the books.

This Christmas has been one of the best I have ever had. The reason for that is obvious I’m sure. Having a child really does change the way you celebrate. It makes old things new again. Traditions become more important. You want to do more and, most importantly, you get to buy toys again.

Any reader of this blog knows that Michelle and I are Christmas folk. It’s what we do. Having Ava, however, allowed us to do so much other things. We did what we usually do, such as seeing the lights at Oglebay and Hartwood Acres, have a Christmas party, go see a holiday show or two and watch all the Christmas movies. But Ava brought some new life to our usual traditions. With Ava we visited Santa again (three times), we read Christmas stories, we bought toys (I will get back to this later), we took Christmas pictures and we left cookies out for Santa.

Regarding the cookies. I know Ava had no idea about the cookies, that one was for me damn it.

Having a baby can be hectic for sure, especially around this time of year, but man is it fun to do all the things again you did as a kid. Having a kid essentially makes Santa real again. It’s awesome, believe me. It was fun make-believing again. Once again, I know Ava had no clue about anything this year, but it was a taste of years to come.

I see it with my nieces and nephews. On Christmas Eve, over my Aunt Debbie’s home, they were all checking the “Santa Tracker” website. It showed where he was in the world and when he may be heading your way so you know when to get to bed. It was great to see their excitement every time they checked and then talking to them about it like there really was a fat-man flying around the world in a sleigh pulled by flying reindeer.

Now to the toys. Oh the toys, toys, toys, toys, toys. There was a lot. I mean A LOT. No, no. You don’t quite understand yet. I mean there was a toy tidal wave. Ava received enough gifts to supply an army of children. I’m pretty sure we don’t need to buy her another toy for two years.

Ava could pile up her toys and swim in them like Scrooge McDuck swims through his gold coins. She could open up her own toy store. She really should be embarrassed. Though it’s not her fault really. It’s ours and our family’s fault. We are all enablers. The whole lot of us.

Now Michelle and I have to figure out where to put all of them. The solution is turning our office into an office/playroom. Half of our furniture out and in the attic and a toy box and play-mat moves in. Our townhouse is bursting at the seams. It will only get worse this July when her one-year birthday comes.

In all, this Christmas was great. We really spent some quality time together as a family and started some of our own traditions. The worst part of it all was that it seemed to come and go so fast. I hope everyone else had a memorable Christmas and holiday as well. Below are some of Ava’s first Christmas photos, enjoy.

Twas The Night Before Fatherhood

Twas the night before fatherhood when all through our home

Not a creature was stirring, not even Frasier with his bone.

The bags were all packed and set by the door with care,

With expectations that Ava would soon be here.


Mike was nestled all snug in his bed,

While Michelle was awake with one thought in her head.

She had pains in her back and her belly felt funny,

So she ran in the room to wake up her honey.


When several attempts failed to wake Mike from his nap,

She finally prevailed with one, hard, quick slap.

Away from the bed Mike flew like a flash,

“This is it!”, he said as he drank his Red Bull stash.


The Red Bull readied Mike, he felt full with power,

He would need it as the hospital drive would be in morning rush-hour.

Mike ran about the house, trying to remember what to do,

He was burning precious time trying to find his other shoe.


Michelle yelled at Mike, so lively and quick,

“Just grab another pair of shoes, you’re being slow as s**t.”

He packed up the car, this was no time to lag,

Mike was so flustered he nearly forgot the baby bag.


He started the engine and revved up the all-wheel drive sleigh,

Not to get pulled over is what he would pray.

The sky was barely lit by the bright orange sun,

The first major challenge was route 51.


They flew through traffic like water through a funnel,

The only delay was when they hit the Liberty Tunnel.

In the car Michelle was breathing heavy to ease her pains,

Mike was breathing even heavier as he quickly switched lanes.


When up in the distance, what did appear,

It was West Penn hospital, they were almost there.

They pulled up to the entrance with very much clatter,

The nurses ran out to see what was the matter.


Michelle was swept away to her room with such care,

Her increasing pains meant Ava would soon be here.

Then for some reason Ava’s heart rate started to slow,

The doctors knew they had to start this show.


In the OR Michelle was sedated and cut from one side to other,

In a few short moments they would be a father and a mother.

The C-section wasn’t planned, now that was for sure,

Who knew that Ava would come out the ‘side window’ instead of the ‘door’?


The doctor pulled out Ava and announced her birth with a shout,

Daddy peeked over the curtain and saw mommy turned inside out.

Then daddy heard a sound that made him give a relieved, thankful sigh,

That sound was Ava giving a heartfelt, newborn cry.


He ran over to see his new gift that could have been adorned with bows,

The first thing he did was make sure she had the right number of fingers and toes.

Daddy told mommy of Ava’s beauty as he held her hand,

But mommy wasn’t all there, the anesthesia put her in la-la land.


Daddy teared up, his eyes all red,

“Congratulations papa!”, is what was said.

Feelings of joy and love did surface,

Daddy knew his life had a new purpose.


Now in their room, there came a burst through the door,

It was a huge crowd of family that knocked nurses to the floor.

There were cousins, aunts and uncles, all over the place,

But it was the grandparents who really couldn’t wait to see Ava’s sweet face.


Finally at night, Michelle held her beautiful little girl,

In mommy’s eyes Ava was more precious than a pearl.

Both mommy and daddy were thankful for this gift from above,

They were now truly a family, rich with love.




Merry Christmas to you and yours and have a healthy new year. Thank you for reading and supporting this blog throughout the year, as well as all the kind words and support.