Archive for the 'Laura' Category
Congratulations to my beautiful wife, Laura, who yesterday completed her first 5K, the Raleigh Old Reliable Run. She finished in just over 32 minutes for a pace of a second or so over 10 minutes per mile. Her goal was to finish the race without stopping and she accomplished her goal! Way to go, Laura.
Just wanted to share a little bit of good news! Earlier today I accepted a Director of Account Management position with iContact, a leading email marketing firm based in RTP. Many of you know iContact but if not, it is a young company that has seen steady, and one might say rapid, growth even during these rough economic times. They’re currently ranked 189 on the Inc. 500 and the Triangle Business Journal has given them awards as one of the best places to work in the area. This is the 2008 write-up for medium size companies and they also won in 2009 for large companies (no write-up). The position is similar to one that I have held in the past and loved. I will be leading a team of account managers focused on retaining clients and growing the overall revenue from those clients by providing excellent service. There are a ton of challenges ahead of me, but I’m looking forward to tackling them. I’m very excited to get back to work on Nov. 16th.
Through this extended vacation my wife, Laura, has been the most amazing person. She has been supportive, encouraging and cheerful. Without her, this experience would have been much different. She’s the greatest.
I’m growing my winter beard for the first time in 8 years. Today is 11 days since I started and it’s “coming in nicely”, as a co-worker put it. It’s certainly more gray than last time. I’d estimate it’s 18% gray. Perhaps it would be better stated 82% dark. Laura doesn’t like it. Ben likes it, but doesn’t want me to tickle him with it. Jack has no opinion yet. I’m undecided. Pictures to follow.
UPDATE: My brother wants to know where my cabin in the woods is hidden.
Tonight’s a big night. Ben will have his first sleepover when a friend from pre-school stays over. We’re headed to the Durham Bulls game, staying for the fireworks and then sleepover time.
Our boy is getting so big…
UPDATE: The night went great. The boys were amazingly well behaved, slept like rocks and then got up this morning and actually played quietly for 45 minutes on their own. Amazing. Only disappointment is that there weren’t fireworks at the game. They were Friday night. C’est la vie.
We’ve been a busy family lately. We always seem to have something going on whether it’s a visit from Grandma Sara, one of Ben’s teeball games, Laura’s softball, my hockey or Jack’s unexpected doctor’s visit. But, we’re happy!
- Ben – He’s playing teeball now and loving it. His favorite part seems to be running the bases and hitting. Ben’s speech is doing much better, too. He’s growing up so fast. It’s pretty amazing how fast it all goes. I took him ice skating for the first time and he LOVED it. Then I took him a second time and it wasn’t quite the same. Not really sure what happened there, but, we’ll try again. He’s doing great at preschool and loves his teachers. He’s got the alphabet down and it seems like he will soon be reading.
- Jack – This kid is a riot. He’s almost always happy. He’s also a fruit lover. Apples, grapes, melons, whatever. He vacuums it up. It’s really interesting to watch the second kid go through these early years with his odler brother coaching him the whole way. Jack just tries to emulate Ben whenever possible. Just last night we noticed that he was hitting a toy golf ball and then throwing down the club. Then he ran in a circle in the room. Laura figured out that he was running the bases like his big brother does at teeball. Amazing.
- Laura – My wife of seven years (as of tomorrow) is quite the first baseman. She played on the Dancik softball team this fall and she had a good time. Other than that, Laura’s been doing well. I feel like I write this everytime but she’s a great mom. Always a step ahead of the rest of us and always keeping us in line. Without her, this house would fall apart.
- Andrew – Things are the same with me. Still working, playing hockey, not reading as much as I would like, etc. One thing I’m really enjoying is helping out at teeball. It’s been so long since I’ve worked with a group of children that it brings back memories of my days on Royal Caribbean.
All is well and for the moment, everyone is healthy. We’re looking forward to Uncle Matty and Aunt Carrie moving down here. Since they’ve been in Boston, the Red Sox have been good. It’s time for them to leave…
In like a lion, out like a something. I can’t remember the phrase for March. Doesn’t matter. Now it’s March and that means it’s time for a new Penchuk update. So without further ado…
- Jack – Our little boy is making great strides. Literally. With the help of a push toy, he’s up on his feet and zipping around. Just in the past few days he’s figured out that if the push toy gets stuck on the wall, it just takes a little tug one way or the other to get back in the clear. He’s really getting close to walking. It’ll probably be a few months still, but all the beginning stages are there. He’s still periodically sleeping through the night. Some nights it’s smooth sailing, other nights he wakes up once or twice (or thrice). Last night was 3 times. We can’t figure out why but he just doesn’t want to get into a routine and sleep all night.
- Ben – This year Ben had a great Valentine’s Day. He brought cards to preschool and had a party with all of his friends. We also attended our friend Isabel’s birthday party at a fun place called “Jumpin’ Beans”. It’s basically an indoor bouncie gym. Kids can jump and run and flail themselves wherever they wish without getting hurt. Ben loved it. He’s also in a polite stage. It’s not that he isn’t polite (we’ve been drilling it into him) but he seems to be picking it up on his own. We’re hearing lots of pleases and thank yous without prompting. It’s making us very happy.
- Laura – For the past year or so, Laura has really been struggling with her allergies. It has gotten to the point that she couldn’t sleep at night (made worse by Jackson’s erratic sleep patterns). We go through tissues like there’s no tomorrow. Finally, she went to the allergist to find out what was wrong and it turns out that she’s allergic to cats. Yup, our Cooper kitt is the culprit. We’re not about to get rid of him but we’re changing a number of things. The windows will have to be open more often to let the fresh air clean things out. Laura’s on allergy medication now and she just needs to limit her time with Cooper. I can already tell she’s feeling better and that makes us all happy.
- Andrew – As for me, things are status quo. We won the championship in my C league hockey. Not exactly a huge honor, but hey, it was fun. Things at work seem to be going well. Last week was the first time in a very long time where I looked back at the week and felt that a lot of good things happened. I hired a new person, two of my largest clients renewed their contracts, another finally agreed to pay their outstanding balance. Stuff is moving along nicely.
Well, we’re off to another birthday party. Seems like we have a lot of those now.
Now that the calendar has flipped into February, it’s time to update the ol’ website. I know that my legions of fans (yeah, basically there’s 3 or 4 of you) want to know what’s happening here in the great state of North Cackalackey. So, here goes…
- Jack – He’s crawling and drooling everywhere. I could type that last line 7 times and it wouldn’t be enough. Especially the drooling part. You can’t hold him for 5 seconds without getting drenched. He’s getting much more mobile, too. Not only can he crawl, but he has no problems pulling himself up to his feet. Getting down is another story. He’s also using a push toy to get around but still needs some help turning and maintaining a straight line. He constantly smiles and makes us very happy despite the drool. Did I mention that he drools?
- Ben – Ben is a great kid. He’s so much fun. A couple of weekends back we went bowling and had an absolute blast. Bowling alleys are now incredibly kid friendly. Every time it was Ben’s turn, bumpers automatically went up so he couldn’t roll gutter balls. The ball was half the weight of a normal ball. Ben didn’t even have to bowl. He just carried his ball to a metal frame that once you gave the ball a little push, it rolled down a sloped surface and then down the lane with more than enough force to knock down the pins. Anyway, the kid has a blast. Throw in the fact that they had air hockey and arcade games like a basketball shoot game, and Ben was in heaven. The enjoyment we got out of the afternoon was well worth the $20 it cost us.
- Laura – When I asked Laura what she wanted me to write about her, she quickly said that she is “keeping head above water, barely.” She’s been struggling with allergies, work, kids, me, and all the other things that happen in life. Neither of us were ready for what having two young kids could do to sane, rational adults. The allergy thing has been real tough. Laura had an appointment with the allergist last week. They instructed her to stop taking any medications for the 5 days leading up to the appointment so they could run tests. Well, we had the threat of snow here and the school systems all closed schools the night before the expected snow. As a result, everything else closed, too. And by the way, when we woke up at 6 AM and looked outside, there wasn’t a flake in sight. It hadn’t even rained yet. The folks down here need to get a grip. But, I digress. The “snow” canceled Laura’s appointment and they rescheduled for a few weeks from now. So, that was a tough 5 days and she gets to do them all over again.
- Andrew – I’ve been working hard (50+ hour weeks) and not getting lots of sleep (averaging about 5-6 hours per night). It’s not a great combination but it’s been necessary. I did travel a little in January and visited the Big Apple to visit clients. While there I went home to Mom’s and got a great home-cooked meal. It was great to see her and get away from the hotel for a few hours. Right now, it seems like life is sleep (a little), kids, work, kids, work and then start all over. But, they’re only young once, right?
So, overall, we’re doing well. We’re challenged at times, but we’re very happy. Until next time…
It’s hard to believe, but it’s been 10 weeks since Jackson was born. He’s doing great and has progressed well. He’s put on weight and is getting close to sleeping through the night. I say getting close because he’s still not sleeping through the night. Both Laura and I are very tired and are feeling the effects of night after night of insufficient sleep. We’re also very busy. Lots has happened in 10 weeks so here’s a recap:
- Ben turned 3! – Hard to believe it’s been 3 years since Ben’s birth. Last weekend we held a Spiderman party for him. Five or six other kids came over and we had a quick lunch party. A good time was had by all.
- Ben’s diaper habit has gone cold turkey – With the passage to year 4, Ben no longer wears a diaper during the day. He still wears one when he sleeps, but soon, we expect to cut that out as well. So far, we’re having success. Let’s hope this keeps up, especially since we just started over with Jack.
- Mom and Artie visited – Twice, actually. They came down from NJ after Jack was born and again when Ben turned 3. It’s been great having them here. We always eat well and usually, Laura and I get a night out.
- Lord Stanley sets up camp in North Cackalackey – One of those nights out Laura and I used to go to a restaurant and watch the Canes get blown out. Fortunately, it all worked out in the end as the Carolina Hurricanes won the Stanley Cup during game 7 here in Raleigh.
- Visitors – We’ve had lots of visitors since Jack was born. I already mentioned Mom and Artie, but other visitors include Matt and Carrie, Dad and Karen, Christine and Megan. All of our visitors have been incredibly helpful. Special thanks goes to Megan who took care of Ben during our time in the hospital. Ben is still talking about her.
- Laura goes back to work – Laura completed maternity leave and has returned to Dancik where she has a new position. She’s now the managing implementations which is a great challenge for her. We all know that she’ll do a great job, but she’s got a lot of work to do.
- Andrew changes jobs – My job function has changed. RegEd recently made an acquisition and the integration between the two companies has gone slower than we would have wished. As a result, I’ve been temporarily moved out of my client services role and now put into the role of overseeing the integration. It will be an interesting challenge to say the least.
- 100 – That’s how many strokes it took me to complete a round of golf at Preston Country Club. If you’d ever seen me play, you know what an accomplishment that is.
- Mustache – My father shaved off his mustache a few weeks back. He’s had it for over 20 years and looks young again. OK, maybe I’m lying about that, but he looks like a changed man.
- Graduation – Carrie graduated, has passed a key exam and is well on her way to being a full-fledged speech pathologist. We’re all very happy for her.
- Buffett – Went to the annual phlocking of Parrotheads with my good friend Courtney. It was her first time and unfortunately, it rained from the first note played until we were in the car on the way home. Regardless, we had a good time and it was fun, even if it was wet.
- Marriage – Just heard the news that my cousin Jessie received a marriage proposal. We’re very excited for her and can’t wait to meet the lucky guy.
I don’t know what I’ve missed but I’m sure there’s something. If I remember, I’ll be sure to add it here.
As of today we have 31 days before baby #2 arrives. Laura will be having a planned C-section on April 18th. At this point, however, that’s WAAAAAAY to far away for Laura. My wonderful wife is very uncomfortable with the belly protruding. It’s significant too. She has grown much faster this second time around to the point of discomfort. We’re gearing up here to be ready. My job today is to head up to the attic and take inventory of what we’ve got when it comes to baby stuff. One benefit of having another boy is that we’re going to be able to re-use a lot of stuff like clothes. That will certainly help the wallet.
Ben is doing great. We recently changed daycares and we have seen the impact almost immediately. He is much more communicative and seems to be more outgoing. The new place bills itself as a pre-school and not a daycare. Right there I think there is a mindset that changes the quality of the care provided. I truly feel that Ben is thriving at the new location. He’s also playing hockey with Daddy practically every chance he gets. He uses either a small hockey stick that he got for Christmas or one of my old ones that I cut down to Ben size. We pass a tennis ball back and forth using our sticks and he loves it. Daddy has a good time, too.
One thing that we’re watching closely is his speech. Four and a half months ago when we had tubes put in his ear, we expected a side benefit would be improved speech. For the most part, that has happened, but his S’s and F’s are still not coming out clearly. We’re keeping an eye on it as we’re told it’s not anything for concern at this point.